Archive for February, 2009

Karmazin Seeks Reliable Radio Measurement System

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Mel Karmazin, CEO of the newly merged Sirius XM Radio, hopes to change the way radio audiences are measured…though he has no idea of how he’ll do it.

Karmazin knows that having an accurate method of counting listeners could draw more advertiser support and subscribers. He also knows that the biggest challenge with his company and advertisers is getting them to agree on a measurement system that meets their needs.

And Karmazin has learned that finding an alternative method is a Catch-22: “If I spend the money, they say it’s proprietary research and they don’t want t use it. But if I don’t spend the money, then who’s gonna spend the money to do the research?” Mr. Karmazin said during a recent interview at Sirius’ New York Studio.

It is clear, however, that Karmazin can provide media buyers with big audiences. He has automatically than doubled the Sirius subscriber base to an impressive 19.5 million just by merging with XM. There is also a newly merged sales force selling the newly combined audience numbers for top shows like Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, the NFL and Major League Baseball.

Still, Sirius has a long way to go to catch up to its terrestrial competitors. Karmazin admits that fledgling car sales could affect his business. If car sales go down, there are fewer satellite radios going into cars. So far business hasn’t been affected.

The future of Sirius/XM remains to be seen – unless you ask a Howard Stern fan.