There's no denying the appeal of satellite radio. Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) announced another quarter of record results on Thursday morning, and the country's lone satellite radio provider thinks that this is just the beginning.
Revenue climbed 11% since the prior year's third quarter to hit $1.17 billion. Earnings, adjusted EBITDA, and cash flow grew even faster.
Sirius XM closed out the quarter with a record 29 million subscribers. It has roughly matched its net additions for all of 2014, and that's with another quarter left to go in 2015.
I wrote about three things to watch heading into this morning's report. Let's see how they played out.
1. Guidance did move higher
Sirius XM has been boosting its outlook with every passing quarter, making this an easy call to make. "It seems as if a quarter doesn't go by without the SatRad star bumping some if not most of its guidance numbers higher," I wrote last week, and we did see Sirius XM jack up its 2015 goals for net subscriber growth, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.
Sirius XM initially targeted just 1.2 million net additions for this year. That became 1.4 million in April, 1.8 million in July, and as of this morning, we're up to 2 million net subscriber additions. Sirius XM's revenue target is now $4.53 billion, up from $4.5 billion. The adjusted EBITDA guidance is growing from $1.62 billion to $1.65 billion. Free cash flow and net self-pay subscriber additions remain at July's levels of $1.3 billion and 1.6 million subscribers, respectively.
2. Howard Stern's whereabouts come 2016
We have less than three months left on Howard Stern's five-year contract. The legendary talk show host is Sirius XM's biggest attraction, taking up not one but two entire channels on the Sirius dial. There is plenty of speculation about the future. Is Stern ready to hang it up after a decade on satellite radio? Will he pursue more TV opportunities?
Sirius XM didn't answer the question directly, but the comments were encouraging.
"The one question many of you ask me about frequently is Howard Stern, and whether he will be staying with the service in the coming years," CEO Jim Meyer said. "We certainly hope so."
He went on to say that investors should assume that both sides are negotiating, and that folks should tune in to Stern's show for any news on the matter in the coming weeks. This is essentially what then-CEO Mel Karmazin said five years ago nearing the end of his initial contract. Stern extended his deal a few weeks later.
3. SXM17 could raise the bar
The last thing that was worth watching was any news on SXM17, the next-gen platform that combines satellite broadcasts with the two-way interactivity of smartphones or mobile Wi-Fi.
"I am very excited about this platform," Meyer said, but once again pointed to next year -- likely January's CES expo -- for more details.