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XM/Sirius vs. NAB

Geoffrey Segal
June 11, 2007, 5:38pm

I was walking down Connecticut Ave in NW Washington DC today when I came across this sign hanging from the National Association of Broadcasters' building:
pic
A little background - NAB is opposing a merger of XM and Sirius radio. Now, it is a pretty good anti-trust rule of thumb that if competitors band together to block a merger, the merger is probably a good deal for consumers. That NAB is spending so many resources to defeat the merger is a clear sign that they feel threatened by a merged Sirius and XM. Consumers win when companies feel threatened, benefiting from product innovation and better pricing. While it's true that a merged XM/Sirius would have a monopoly on subscription-based audio programming that is beamed by satellite. But, that isn't our only option. We have regular, free commercial radio, internet radio, HD radio and iPods. Beyond that, satellite radio is an OPTIONAL service that you have to pay for MONTHLY. This picture also should put to an end any worry that the merger will allow Sirius and XM to raise prices. After all, wouldn't the providers of FREE radio be thrilled if satellite radio jacked up their prices? Of course maybe this isn't the message NAB was shooting for. After all, a close examination suggests that XM+Sirius "divided by" monopoly is bad. A simple "=" would really go a long way.


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