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SiriusXM To Take A $1bn Hit From Pandora, Largely Due To “Royalty Cost Structure”

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(CelebrityAccess) — Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM announced the addition of 909,000 new subscribers last year, bringing their total monthly self-pay subscriber base to a record of 30.9 million at the end of 2020.

The figures beat SiriusXM’s previous guidance for investors on their subscriber figures, and will help the company to meet or exceed its most recent 2020 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow.

“I’m pleased to have assumed the role as SiriusXM’s CEO this month and even more pleased with the results we posted for 2020, which provide us strong momentum as we chart the course for the year ahead. These results highlight the resiliency of our business and the loyalty of our customer base even amid the unprecedented challenges of the past year. Most of all, I’m proud of our dedicated employees for navigating the challenges of remote work, staying healthy, and taking care of their families while never losing sight of our business goals,” said Jennifer Witz, SiriusXM’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Last year, we made a number of strategic moves that position SiriusXM for its next phase of growth. We completed our acquisitions of Stitcher and Simplecast and our investment in Soundcloud, debuted exclusive content across SiriusXM and Pandora from Marvel Entertainment and others, and extended agreements with General Motors, BMW and Kia. As we announced in December, I’m thrilled that Howard Stern extended his live broadcast agreement with SiriusXM for the next five years and for his archives well beyond that. By continuing our focus on premium content, enhancing our in-car product with 360L, and expanding our reach to more people at home and on-the-go with both subscription and advertising products, I am confident that SiriusXM has a long runway of growth ahead of us in 2021 and beyond,” added Witz.

At the same time, not everything is rosy for SiriusXM and the company announced that it intends to take a $1bn write down for its Pandora streaming service.

According to SiriusXM, the impairment is the result of Pandora’s operating performance, in particularly, its royalty cost structure with content providers. Income from operations for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2020 will be negatively impacted by any such impairment.

SiriusXM also shared a preview of their expectations for 2020:

SiriusXM self-pay net subscriber additions of approximately 800,000,
Total revenue of approximately $8.35 billion,
Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $2.575 billion, and
Free cash flow of approximately $1.6 billion.

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