Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) hit another four-year high today after shedding some light on its productive 2012.

The satellite radio provider closed out the year with 2 million net subscriber additions for the entire year. Sirius XM also expects to meet or exceed all of the metrics behind its 2012 financial guidance.

This is impressive, but it's not really a surprise. Sirius XM has been inching its outlook higher after every passing quarter.

Sirius XM is also initiating its outlook for 2013.

  • Revenue should top $3.7 billion, within reach of the $3.82 billion that analysts are currently targeting.
  • Adjusted EBITDA should surpass $1.1 billion.
  • Free cash flow will be near $900 million.
  • Sirius XM will close out the year with 1.4 million net subscriber additions, fueled by an even more impressive 1.6 million pop in self-pay net subscriber additions.

Now, it's easy to fixate on that 1.4 million figure, but let's take a quick spin through history.

A year ago, Sirius XM was only expecting to close out 2012 with 1.3 million net additions. This came after tacking on 1.4. million net additions in 2010 and 1.7 million net additions in 2011.

There was a reason for the cautious outlook. Sirius XM was rolling out a 12% increase to its basic monthly rate last January. Churn would inch higher. New car buyers would flinch at the higher price point. Well, that never happened. Churn remained in check, and the net additions kept coming.

In other words, a year ago Sirius XM was targeting fewer subscribers for 2012 than it is today for 2013. We know how conservative that turned out to be.

Besides, the important figure in that subscriber is the 1.6 million projected for self-pay net additions. That matches the number of self-pay accounts added in 2012, and it's also 30% more than Sirius XM gained in 2011.

Sirius XM heads into 2013 with a new CEO and questions as to what exactly Liberty Media (NASDAQ:STRZA) will do as it takes majority control of the media giant. However, if Sirius XM is able to tack on 1.6 million more self-pay customers this very scalable business will not disappoint investors.

Sirius XM knows what it's doing.