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Shock Jock Causes SIRIUS Traffic Spike

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Celebrity shock jock Howard Stern may prove himself to worth the half billion dollars SIRIUS Satellite radio spent on him. Since Stern defected from the FCC controlled airwaves, traffic to the SIRIUS website has ballooned, surpassing rival XM Radio, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

The number of unique visitors to SIRIUS spiked a whopping 188 percent, growing from 666,000 in March 2005 to 1.9 million in March 2006.

When Stern joined the team in January of this year, says Nielsen, SIRIUS surpassed XM‘s traffic for the first time, drawing 2.3 million unique visitors to XM’s 1.6 million. Stern’s new home continued to outpace its rival online in February and March.

“The satellite radio market is enjoying vibrant growth, due to increasing interest among first time subscribers,” said Jon Gibs, senior director of media, Nielsen//NetRatings.

“While SIRIUS has seen significant growth specifically due to Howard Stern’s programming, both services benefit from individuals going to their site, not just to sign up for service, but also to listen to content while they are without their players.”

Due to streaming content, consumer loyalty has grown for both SIRIUS and XM, as the companies report an average of 3.5 and 3.7 sessions per person respectively. Nielsen says the return visitation rate of both websites is on level with Rhapsody, ClearChannel Music Radio, and MSN Radio.

Streaming content is especially popular at work among satellite radio subscribers where broadband penetration is nearly 90 percent. SIRIUS users significantly outpace XM users in terms of accessing a media player for streaming content. Forty-four percent of SIRIUS users, compared to 27 percent of XM subscribers access streaming content.

“Satellite radio services have traditionally been thought of as linked to a specific satellite radio device. It is becoming clear that satellite radio subscribers are accessing the content they subscribe to online,” said Gibs.

“As these services continue to gain in popularity by adding new talent and programming, they could become a significant threat to online music subscription services such as Rhapsody and MSN Radio.”

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Shock Jock Causes SIRIUS Traffic Spike
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