Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Can Sirius Survive Without Howard Stern

The simple answer appears to be yes; in fact, the savings that Sirius gets by unloading Howard could offset debt and pay for alternative talent. "The company might return cash to shareholders through buybacks or dividends, Karmazin said. Such a move will become increasingly likely as Sirius XM continues to lower its debt and build cash flow, though there’s no target date for such action, he said."

Still, Howard remains a great fit for Sirius and while some audience might defect without him, investments in other alternative programming could bring in a new audience. And "Sirius XM stations, such as Raw Dog Comedy and Playboy Radio, would help retain many of Stern’s listeners if he left, he said."

Howard's contract doesn't expire till December, so there is still time for Howard Stern and Sirius to renew their vows.

No Sports For You

Cablevision and Fox are still fighting. And Cablevision customers have lost three NLCS games and Giants Football game. Unhappiness reigns.

Interesting to note that a Calevision offshoot, MSG is facing the same problem with Dish. MSG is off the air as contracts remain unsigned. And in both cases, Cablevision and MSG are requesting arbitration as the solution. PR ploy or sign of a real attempt to settle, who knows.

What I do know is that the distributor - content relationship has soured in the last few years. It has become increasingly acrimonious and what I would describe as a win - lose relationship. Each wants to win by getting the other party to lose. This strategy has a negative long term result and makes each subsequent negotiation that much worse. And frankly, it is becoming destructive to the health of the cable industry.