XM in Discussions With 4 Shops

Agencies to Present for Satellite Radio Provider’s $100 Mil. Account
LOS ANGELES–XM Satellite Radio, a provider of radio programming via satellite, is talking to four agencies about handling its $100 million advertising account.
XM, whose investors include General Motors and DirecTV, is considering TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., and Deutsch, along with two undisclosed networks, said sources. Jeff Atlas, who has run several San Francisco agencies and consulted on other reviews, is assisting the Washington, D.C., client with its search.
“The agency we select will have a huge task ahead of them,” said Robert Acker, XM vice president of marketing. “They’ll be launching an industry and a brand.”
Acker confirmed XM had cut its national search to four shops, but declined to identify them. He said contenders will make strategic and creative presentations in early April, with a selection to follow.
Acker said the winner will be asked to develop an advertising and marketing plan to reach a broad audience, “from echo boomers through baby boomers and matures.” In addition to developing a branding campaign, the shop will be responsible for helping XM establish about 100 sub-brands, he said.
This month, XM unveiled its charter advertisers, which include J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Zenith Media Services, Ogilvy & Mather, Grey Advertising, AT&T, Discovery Networks and Allstate Insurance. It also said it signed a deal for Premiere Radio Networks, a national radio network, to be its ad sales representative.
XM’s advertising sales staff will be integrated into Premiere’s national sales force, giving XM a national advertising sales presence at Premiere’s New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta offices.
Next year, XM will beam up to 100 channels of digital-quality news, sports, music, talk and children’s programming from two satellites to vehicle, home and portable XM-Ready radios for $9.95 monthly.
On Jan. 31, XM completed concurrent securities offerings, raising $228 million more in capital three months after its IPO.
XM will originate a combination of commercial-free and advertiser-supported channels from Washington, D.C. It will offer channels from brand-name entertainment and information providers, among them NASCAR, BBC World Service, BET and Radio One.
–with staff reports