And I think this piece is way, way off.
The argument actually refers to a combined Sirius/XM as a “monopolist” and makes an analogy between this new company and the electric company that browned out my neighborhood in California a few years ago during the faux energy “crisis.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
What, exactly, would one big satellite radio company have monopoly control over? Want to launch a satellite? Go right ahead. Sirius/XM wouldn’t be stopping you. Need to hear music in your car from a provider other than Sirius/XM? We have these things called conventional radios which work, as it turns out, really really well. And don’t forget the mp3 players and good old-fashioned CD players that are still ubiquitous.
Satellite radio is not an industry in and of itself. It is a small part of the much larger entertainment audioverse. Even if you own one channel of distribution there are many, many more. A TV cable or electric company are not analogous because theirs are the only pipes into your house. But audio entertainment comes from many sources (including, I might add, some at the high end of your digital cable). I can get music through my radio, iPod, computer, satellite radio, and TV.
Much more analogous is the phone company. And what do we see? Consolidation. Still, the consolidators don’t own Vonage. They don’t own Skype. They don’t own the phone service that comes from your cable company. Competition finds a way. Even if you “monopolize” your own particular “channel”.
Then the author goes on to claim that services will be shredded for economy, subscribers will run, and stock prices will diminish making it a bad deal for both investors and subscribers.
A combined Sirius/XM doesn’t sacrifice its need to serve the interests of its audience simply because it merges. Under that logic no two radio stations should be co-owned.
The legal hurdles for such a merger will depend on the extent to which the FCC understands the very landscape that it lords over.
And it also depends on how much pressure the broadcasting community applies. Because one thing’s for sure: A merged Sirius/XM is a much stronger foe for broadcasters than either entity is separately.