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This Week in Sirius XM Radio

By Rick Munarriz - Apr 6, 2013 at 8:45AM

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Satellite radio is always making waves.

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (SIRI 2.10%) moved lower this week, closing 2.3% lower to hit $3.01. The general market moved lower, but it didn't take as big a hit.

The stock dipped below $3 on an intraday basis for the first time since late February, but there was more going on beyond share-price gyrations. The media giant also announced a couple of special concerts for Sirius XM subscribers. Auto sales were strong in March, leading a major tracker to boost its outlook for 2013. A study also shows that Pandora (P) and streaming music may be more popular than we think.

Let's take a closer look.

Crossing the line
Sirius XM found itself in recently unfamiliar territory when its shares dipped below $3 on Thursday. You have to go back o late February to find the last time shares traded below $3. When the stock hit $2.95 on Friday, it matched the lowest point of trading so far in 2013.

If Sirius XM had a strong first quarter in terms of subscriber adds, it may want to speak up in the days ahead. The stock could use a positive catalyst.

Membership has its benefits
Sirius XM had several member events to announce this week. It will host private concerts by country-music icon Kenny Chesney and alternative rockers Phoenix for its subscribers. There will also be a town-hall chat with Latin music legend Juanes, hosted by Ruben Blades.

All three events will take place around New York City. Sirius XM does occasionally host special events to which only Sirius XM subscribers are invited, but they're mostly centered on the company's home city.

C'mon, Sirius XM. The vast majority of your subscribers are not in New York. Take these shows on the road!

Driven to win
Auto tracker Edmunds liked what it saw with the auto industry's new-car sales metrics for March, which were released earlier this week. Edmunds now sees U.S. car sales coming in at 15.5 million this year, up from its earlier forecast of 15 million light vehicles being sold. That would be the industry's best year since 2007.

Ford (F 3.23%) and Fiat's (NASDAQOTH: FIATY) Chrysler were the biggest winners among automakers, with March sales up 5.7% and 5%, respectively. You have to go all the way back to 2007 here as well to find the last time either company fared this well.

This is all great news for Sirius XM, which relies on new cars with factory-installed satellite receivers. Since 44% of the buyers of cars with receivers wind up sticking around as self-paying customers, there's nothing as encouraging for Sirius XM's long-term success than healthy auto sales.

Unboxing Pandora
How is Pandora not like a pterodactyl? The "P" is no longer silent.

Get it? P is Pandora's ticker symbol? The company's making a lot of noise as it moves higher these days?

Oh, well. You're a tough crowd. Let's move on.

The popular music-discovery service with nearly 68 million unique monthly users is getting even stickier. The service came up on a graph during Facebook's (FB 4.24%) media event on Thursday to roll out its new Android-based Facebook Home platform.

Facebook was pointing out how social has become a major part of the smartphone experience, and it proved the point by showing that Facebook and its own photo-sharing platform, Instagram, are the first and third most used mobile apps. Who was wedged in the middle? Yes, that's right -- Pandora.

Music streaming is huge, making this an ideal time for Sirius XM to make a bigger play the way it did earlier this year, with the rollout of personalized radio.

An NPD Group Music Acquisition Monitor study that surveyed thousands of consumers reveals that Pandora and smaller rivals accounted for 23% of the time that folks between 13 to 35 spent listening to music during last year's fourth quarter. Music-streaming sites ate up just 17% of the music listening a year earlier.

And the beat goes on.

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Stocks Mentioned

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
SIRI
$6.33 (2.10%) $0.13
Ford Motor Company Stock Quote
Ford Motor Company
F
$13.12 (3.23%) $0.41
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
FB
$191.63 (4.24%) $7.80
Pandora Media, Inc. Stock Quote
Pandora Media, Inc.
P

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