The latest satellite radio study from Bridge Ratings suggests a shift in momentum at both the retail and consumer brand awareness level with Sirius and Howard Stern overtaking XM. Just three weeks ago, Bridge reported that XM had survived the "Stern-effect" to regain the lead in the satellite sector, but that proclamation may have been premature, as Bridge now reports: "In recent weeks the number of consumers who mention an XM purchase has slowed while Sirius is on a tear lately."
Bridge projects just over 1 million retail sales of satellite radios since April 1, with 51% (534,994) of them being XM systems. While XM holds a narrow lead in sales for the second quarter, over the last three weeks of May, Bridge projects Sirius claimed 57% of the 350,000 satellite units sold. Overall Q2 trending for sales through the week ending May 29 shows XM (534,994 units) with a narrow lead over Sirius (502,667). Bridge now projects 6.5 million subscribers for Sirius while XM's total subscriber count will land at 8.4 million by year end 2006, which is 100,000 less than what XM recently stated in a subscriber projection adjustment.
Bridge also states "sales as a function of brand also has favored Sirius in recent weeks with Sirius sales over performing its brand awareness." Much of that is likely due to Howard Stern, as in its last report Bridge stated that 31% of Stern's former listeners did not miss Howard's show enough to subscribe. That number decreased to 24% in the last sample. Bridge also now estimates that
1.3 million (10%) of Stern's terrestrial fan base has migrated to Sirius.
In July, Bridge Ratings will release its full second quarter tracking for the satellite sector. The current report was based on interviews conducted at retail outlets in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Boston, Detroit, New York and Boston between January 1 and May 29, 2006.