NAB Shill Says He Didn't Flip-Flop, Adds Sky Is Green And Down Is Up

from the yeah-we-believe-you dept

On Wednesday, we noted how an analyst's view of the competition satellite-radio companies face changed drastically once his firm got paid by the NAB -- the group representing terrestrial radio broadcasters that's fighting the XM-Sirius merger. Back in 2005, before being influenced by the NAB's money, the analyst said that satellite radio faced competition from a wide variety of other media, including terrestrial radio, MP3 players and internet services. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, after the NAB hired his firm to write a biased report in yet another attempt to undermine the merger, and he calls such a viewpoint "ludicrous." Now, the guy denies flip-flopping, saying that his 2005 viewpoint was talking about competition that satellite radio might face in the future. Right, that explains things. Only it doesn't. While the 2005 report does discuss how the market will play out in the future, it also talks about how satellite radio was already facing "in-car competition" from AM and FM radio and other media. The guy denies the assertion that he's an NAB shill, even though he admits that he was hired to write something "the NAB could use". The NAB and its shills can assert that they don't compete with satellite radio until they're blue in the face, but it simply isn't true. Not only do their protestations about the merger undermine this claim, but as a commenter pointed out, the NAB's chairman and CEO David Rehr has even talked about how the terrestrial radio industry is facing competition from "satellite radio, Internet radio, iPODs, other MP3 players, cell phones and others." In that very same speech to the National Press Club, Rehr talks about "the best new business models of any industry can be stopped cold by wrong legislation or regulation." He's right on that point -- when that regulation masks an entrenched's industry's unwillingness to compete in the marketplace against new services and business models.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Emilio, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 6:51pm

    Why compete? When a few million dollars in the right hands grants you a magic monopoly?

    The real question is: Would someone like Hillary do anything to stop this nonsense, should she ascend to the West Wing, or is she too busy accepting campaign contributions not to look the other way when the time comes?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Emilio, Apr 6th, 2007 @ 11:29pm

    Why compete? When a few million dollars in the right hands grants you a magic monopoly?

    The real question is: Would someone like Hillary do anything to stop this nonsense, should she ascend to the West Wing, or is she too busy accepting campaign contributions not to look the other way when the time comes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Emilio, Apr 7th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    Why compete? When a few million dollars in the right hands grants you a magic monopoly?

    The real question is: Would someone like Hillary do anything to stop this nonsense, should she ascend to the West Wing, or is she too busy accepting campaign contributions not to look the other way when the time comes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Bill, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 6:17am

    is Techdirt paid shill of satellite?

    Why is Techdirt coming down so forcefully on the satellite side of this? It seems they are taking sides on the issue way more than is warranted.

    There is now a great competition between satellite companies that is benefiting consumers. When they combine PRICES WILL RISE. I am very happy with the strong competition that we have now. I wonder why Techdirt wants this competition to disappear. Techdirt has gone way beyond a journalistic interest in their support of the merger.

    In Techdirt's usual bombastic "we are always right, they are always wrong" style they slam anyone who objects to the merger. What does Techdirt have to gain by this? Are they independent or are they paid shills also? Some of us want to know. Why does Techdirt care so much about this merger happening?

     

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  5.  
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    Carlo, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 9:15am

    Re: is Techdirt paid shill of satellite?

    You might want to check out this earlier post, where we explain our position isn't necessarily in support of this merger, but rather against the seedy and underhanded way the NAB is trying to fight it.

    The idea that if these companies merge, prices will automatically rise isn't true -- these companies' biggest challenge now, and for a long while, will be to gain more subscribers. Raising prices isn't a good way to do that. The NAB is representative of many other entrenched industries whose unwillingness to compete in the marketplace is what's harmful to consumers, not the potential merger of two small, upstart companies.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Bill, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: is Techdirt paid shill of satellite?

    The idea that you're not supporting the merger seems pretty preposterous considering statements such as "The idea that if these companies merge, prices will automatically rise isn't true".

    How can you support a statement like that? These companies are in fierce competition with each other far more than with NAB broadcasters. Once they have their monopoly I guarantee they'll jack up prices in weasily ways like a la carte pricing where they'll say it's not a price increase but if you still want the same set of broadcasting you had previously you'll have to pay more.

    You guys make statements as though it's some kind of a given fact but it's really speculation on your part. Watch the stock price on XM and Sirius. When the merger goes through - I'm 90% sure it will but it shouldn't - Their stock price will shoot up - and that will be because they have drastically less competition and near monopoly pricing power.

    I know there is competition of a sort with other media but satellite subscribers have chosen satellite over other media because it is so substantially different. XM and Sirius with their new monopoly power can raise their prices much much easier than they can now.

    You wait, I'll send this back to you when the merger goes through and they have their first BS pricing exploit on their consumers.

     

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  7.  
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    Carlo, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 12:34pm

    These companies are in fierce competition with each other far more than with NAB broadcasters.

    XM and Sirius with their new monopoly power can raise their prices much much easier than they can now.

    No, and no. Neither company has a subscriber base that's capable of sustaining a profitable business, and for both companies the key challenge is to get more subscribers. While they do compete for the small number of consumers who have chosen satellite radio, their real challenge is in attracting more non-subscribers to the medium. Again, raising their prices won't help them do that. In addition, if the competition among the companies was as fierce as you indicate, shouldn't prices be falling? Instead, look back at XM's price increase to bring its monthly fees on par with Sirius.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: is Techdirt paid shill of satellite?

    "The idea that you're not supporting the merger seems pretty preposterous considering statements such as "The idea that if these companies merge, prices will automatically rise isn't true"."

    at what point did not agreeing with something that has no evidential support mean that you're bias?

    Both companies are just bleeding money. They can't survive unless they get more subscribers. If they join together, they very well may be able to survive. You're obviously biased because you call it a monopoly when it clearly isn't. Yea, maybe they'll be the only satellite radio company, but that doesn't mean they don't compete with anything else. You can't just redefine a market so its only one company and then say they have a monopoly. They'll have a monopoly on satellite radio, not in-car entertainment.

    And of course they're stock will go up. Its a good business decision. Even if it wasn't a monopoly, one company buying another is virtually always good for business. Just because someone is making a good business decision does NOT mean its bad for the customer.

    So, calling TechDirt biased is like the pot calling the kettle black. You're much more biased then TechDirt. Maybe TechDirt is biased. But only because they want to see satellite survive. On its current course, it won't.

     

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  9.  
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    Moola Speakoso, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 6:54pm

    Money talks, bullshit walks

    This guy is a liar. All the media are in the pay of the big corps. There's no hope for any of us. Let's just turn on the tv and watch the latest crap they send us. and forget forget forget forget.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Bill, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 7:21pm

    Re: #7


    Neither company has a subscriber base that's capable of sustaining a profitable business

    look back at XM's price increase to bring its monthly fees on par with Sirius


    No and yes.

    No: Sirius would have been cash flow positive by now had they not spent so much on celebrities and big name programming like the NFL. They've been predicting profits to their stockholders for quite some time. But now they're crying poverty?

    And yes: that's my point exactly! XM was able to raise their price to match Sirius without significant loss of subscribers. They were able to raise their prices! When the merger happens they will probably at first raise prices in more subtle ways like a la carte pricing. This way they won't be overtly thumbing their noses at the FCC. I must have overstated the current competition between the two. Then when the merger happens and there's no satellite competition - think of the pricing power they'll have! I may buy some XM and Sirius stock - while Sirius is close to profitable now (their claim), you can bet they'll be HIGHLY profitable together after the merger.

    Right now the competition comes in the form of stealing programming from each other. Playboy has left XM to go to Sirius and some other guys too. I think part of Sirius's plan is to spend so much that people like you will think they can't make it on their own and the merger will have to be approved "to save the companies".

     

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  11.  
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    Dosquatch, Apr 8th, 2007 @ 8:39pm

    NAB, explain this

    If, as is claimed, satellite radio is not in competition with normal AM/FM transmissions, why is the NAB taking such a keen interest in whether or not this merger takes place? If this is truly not a competitive force on your radar, isn't this akin to McDonald's taking a loud, public stance on a potential merger of Ford and GM?

    It seems much more likely that you recognize that all forms of transmitted audio programming, whatever the source, are in competition with each other, and that you think the public is too stupid to recognize your hot air for what it is.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Bill, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    Re: NAB, explain this

    isn't this akin to McDonald's taking a loud, public stance on a potential merger of Ford and GM?

    It's more like Harley-Davidson taking a loud public stance on a potential merger of Ford and GM. They are technically by Techdirt definition "competitors". For competitors to XM on a 1 to 10 scale of competition the NAB would be about a 4 and Sirius would be a 10.

    If the NAB really thought about it they'd be glad for the merger. Bigger isn't necessarily better.

     

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  13.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 9th, 2007 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: #7

    So how is a duopoly any better than a monopoly?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    gaanjawokie, Apr 23rd, 2007 @ 9:22am

    Re: is Techdirt paid shill of satellite?

    Sirius exec Mel Karmazin said in front of congress that if Sirius and XM combine that prices would ACTUALLY BE LOWER AND PROMISED NOT TO RAISE PRICES.

    Check your facts.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    zainab, Jul 28th, 2007 @ 2:39am

    ask

    how to take it out from the nub

     

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