The Fun Part Is Over, Now The Real Work On The XM-Sirius Merger Begins
from the questions-aplenty dept
If the satellite companies can overcome that hurdle (and that's a big if, particularly given the way Martin and the FCC generally seem confused about competition), other questions remain. Martin has also said that they must be able to show that "consumers would clearly be better off with both more choice and affordable prices" if the merger was approved. This plays into the issue of competition: the key task for a combined XM-Sirius would be to grow its subscriber base and convince people to spend their money on its services, rather than other types of audio content. It can't do that by raising its prices and offering consumers a less valuable product when, as one article says, users already see the service's monthly fees not in terms of dollars, but as "the equivalent of 13 iTunes downloads." Again, the competition these companies face is much bigger than just the competition between the two of them as standalone entities, so it's unlikely that combining them will result in drastically increased prices and a worse product for consumers. The other potential problem? As always with Martin involved, it's indecency. The FCC doesn't currently have the power to regulate programming on satellite radio, and Martin could insist the companies "voluntarily" comply to some oversight or federal standards as a condition of merger approval. XM and Sirius appear to recognize this, though, as they've already mentioned a desire to let customers pick channels on an a-la-carte basis of sort -- hitting on one of Martin's favorite pet ideas.