A group of law students from George Washington University have formed a consumer advocacy group to ensure there is competition in the satellite radio industry and fight against the oft-rumored merger of XM and Sirius. In fact, the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR) says that it was formed as a direct response to the rumors of the proposed merger.
"The competitive duopoly in satellite digital radio created by the FCC in 1997 is clearly at risk," says Chris Reale, one of C3SR's founding members. "If the only two companies operating in the satellite radio industry are permitted to combine, consumers not only will lose their choice, but they will be totally at the mercy of a monopoly provider." He adds, "When I subscribed to XM back in 2005, I had a choice. Now it looks like some of my favorite channels may disappear and/or the subscriptions fees will go up if this merger happens."
The organization's initial goal is to raise consumer awareness of the potential impact of a merger. "When, and if, Sirius and XM announce a merger agreement and pursue regulatory approvals, we will have enough support and momentum to ensure that existing subscribers don't get the shaft," said Reale.
The C3SR made its debut at the National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis, TN over the weekend.