Sirius XM wants a piece of the video pie so its baking its own, its first ingredient: Howard Stern
Video is becoming a dominant force in the media landscape. Companies from Facebook to T-Mobile to Snapchat to Apple to Patreon have all made at least some effort to push into the medium. Snapchat has its Discover section that contains short TV-like shows from brands, Facebook recently launched Watch to compete with YouTube, last year T-Mobile announced plans to launch an online TV service, Apple has been ramping up its original content in preparation for a streaming service, and Patreon just launched a Snapchat-like stories feature that will allow users to post videos on their account to keep fans updated with their work. With the demand for video constantly increasing, it is no surprise that by 2021 video will make up 82 percent of all internet traffic, according to data from Cisco.
Now, a new contender has entered the arena looking to make a presence in the space, satellite radio company Sirius XM. The company outlined its plans to push into the format during its recent earnings call. However, CEO Jim Meyer made it clear that the company was not trying to compete with Netflix, but instead would be “wading into the video pool” before July.
The satellite radio’s first experiment with video will be led by radio star Howard Stern. The company will utilize 30 years of Stern interviews, which date back to his earlier broadcast years, as a guide to launch video of other talk hosts, musicians, and comedians.
With the company having channels dedicated to The Beatles, Pitbull, Jamie Foxx, NASCAR, the NFL, Frank Sinatra, and more, it’s likely to have hundreds if not thousands of hours of untapped video content. An example of that untapped content is a studio session of Sam Smith Covering a song from Whitney Houston that the company recorded and posted on YouTube three years ago. That video has since been viewed 20 million times.
Sirius XM isn’t the only audio-based service to break into video. Aside from Apple, Spotify also began streaming videos from partners that included Comedy Central and ESPN, but that effort struggled to take off. Now the company is experimenting with a new multimedia format it has dubbed Spotlight. Rather than visuals being the main focus of the content, with Spotlight, imagery (including video) is used only to compliment podcast audio.
The Sirius XM’s video product will be part of Sirius XM All Access, which will cost $20.99/mo, approximately $5 more than the regular service. However, one roadblock the company may face as it pushes into video are issues regarding the rights it has to repurpose its audio content. But if everything goes right, and with autonomous cars becoming more of a norm, watching Sirius XM TV from the driver seat of a car may not be too crazy of an idea.
Sirius XM currently has over 32 million subscribers.