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The “End” of Satellite Radio?

I am stunned that the radio trades in particular and, as a result, the broader radio industry have missed a hugely significant announcement that fell well under my radar.

Namely, this partnership between a company called Zing and Sirius. Zing is a start-up which is designing a wireless entertainment engine that would stream content, presumably via the Internet, to mobile devices.

The release reads:

ZING also announced it is working with SIRIUS Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI), the fastest growing satellite radio service and its first collaborator, to stream live digital SIRIUS programming over mobile devices.

So, to put it another way, SIRIUS programming would theoretically escape the need to be presented via satellite. It would theoretically escape the need to be presented on a Sirius-branded radio. It would be capable of flowing over any mobile unit that was ZING-capable and we can only imagine what that might mean right now (it depends on what becomes “standard” and what remains “optional” in the world of technology).

It would significantly reduce the difficulty of installing and using SIRIUS and it would eliminate altogether the term “satellite radio.”

At that point – Wireless programming (subscription or otherwise) would simply be called “radio” – perhaps “subscription radio,” assuming there’s no sanitized and commercial-supported version (which I wouldn’t assume for a second, by the way).

And because of the centralized nature of SIRIUS and the de-centralized nature of your group, they can make this deal much faster, more comprehensively, and more effectively than you can.

Now granted, at this stage it’s hard to separate the software from the “vaporware,” but one of radio’s great advantages is its ubiquity. And if satellite can magically appear on millions of mobile units that require no satellite and no satellite radio “box”, then….

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