Cool Gone Cold

In the language of “diffusion research”, I’m what you would call an “early adopter” of technology. Not an “innovator” (first in) or the later stage “early majority”. I’m the type who allows the techies to work out the bugs in the Beta, but then gets in while the service is still free. So, for instance, I’m posting this on IE7 which came out in Beta 2 last night, I get all my video news and entertainment on-line, and I use a nice assortment of Web 2.0 offerings tabbed in a browser instead of the Microsoft Office suite.

I also quit my Sirius radio subscription almost a year ago.

I mention this in the context of XM reporting another loss making quarter today. It occurs to me that if the “early adopters” are already out and onto podcasting and other internet based media, what hope is there that satellite radio will ever achieve the promises made to their early investors.

Satellite radio seemed pretty cool when it came out. There were 200 channels of music and talk. You could drive cross country and never switch stations. And if you had already dumped cable news, you could at least listen to the Fox News Channel or CNN to keep up with the latest blond in distress.

But it had problems:

  • Subscription fees - $120 per year
  • The same lousy advertising on all the talk stations
  • A bunch of clunky equipment that you can’t carry around (the XM portable radio stinks)
  • The music stations play the same songs over and over and over
  • They don’t distribute any of the talk stations on the internet
  • The content is designed for the “masses”

Compare that to an ipod:

  • Most of the content is free
  • There are few podcasts that include advertising
  • You can play all your own music
  • You can listen to everything on your computer if you want
  • Special interest content is the hallmark of podcasting

The benefits of internet distributed media so outweigh satellite radio that, if I were a short seller, I would definitely have XM and Sirius in my crosshairs. It seems that even Howard Stern won’t save the medium.

What the world needs is not more mass media, but universal access to the internet. Please, just give us 100 MB global wireless and let the bloggers and podcasters do the rest.

But just another subscription service designed for the masses? That’s pretty 2002.



11:35 AM

I saw you stopped by my blog. Hope you were a little entertained.
In the meantime, good blog!

But I love my XM. :)