Fans of Rosie O'Donnell won't have to go cold turkey on Sirius XM Radio
The last live installment of Rosie Radio is coming on June 1, but the comedienne's new talk show gig on television will also make its way to satellite radio.
O'Donnell is moving to Oprah Winfrey's OWN this fall. The daily talk show -- Rosie -- will air on Sirius and XM the same day it airs on the struggling cable network.
Yes, it's fair to call OWN a "struggling" network. The collaboration between Discovery Communications
Will Sirius XM listeners feel cheated? We don't know how many listeners migrated to satellite radio to catch the 2009 debut of Rosie Radio. Those that did are unlikely to be satisfied with non-exclusive broadcasts of a television show. Premium radio and hand-me-down content aren't compelling bedfellows.
The programming shift also comes just as Sirius XM is weeks away from fulfilling the three-year freeze on primary rates that helped it win regulatory approval for the merger between Sirius and XM. If things go according to plan, Sirius XM will have the freedom to bump its $12.95 monthly rate higher this summer. The move will be harder to justify if proprietary content isn't on the rise.
Sirius XM isn't standing still. It may have lost Bubba the Love Sponge last year and will lose Rosie Radio in a few weeks, but the revolving door spins both ways. Dr. Laura Schlessinger entered the satellite radio ring in January. Howard Stern has signed on for five more years -- his absence would have really gotten in the way of a monthly plan hike.
Sirius XM is also readying itself for Sirius XM 2.0, a receiver upgrade that will give it 25% more programming ability on new systems later this year. Obviously Sirius XM can't justify a rate hike on older receivers that can't access the new content, but it's one more reason for CEO Mel Karmazin to make sure that he's inking more content deals than those that are not being renewed.
The next few months will be interesting, especially after Karmazin teased that an increase -- perhaps a substantial one -- is in the cards. With its stock hitting two-year highs, let's hope that Sirius XM doesn't come up with rate hike promises that its content can't keep.
Will Sirius XM need new original programming to justify a rate hike? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to Sirius since 2004. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.