XM-Sirius Would Nab 3.5% of Market

NEW YORK If the two satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, get the green light from regulators to merge,the combined concern would capture almost 3.5 percent of all radio listening, according to an analysis of Arbitron fall 2006 survey data scheduled for release Tuesday.

The analysis marks the first time the satellite radio audience has been quantified compared to the total radio audience.

About 5.6 percent of all survey respondents mentioned listening to satellite radio. The highest audience share of listening captured by a single channel was 0.2 percent. The average satellite channel had a .009 listening share.

The good news for terrestrial broadcasters is that satellite radio listeners are heavy listeners of all radio. In fact, they spend more time with terrestrial radio than satellite or Internet radio. Compared to the 19 hours a typical radio listeners spends with radio, satellite radio listeners spend 33 hours a week. Satellite radio listeners spend 14 hours with AM/FM, 10 hours and 45 minutes with satellite radio and 8 hours and 15 minutes with Internet radio.

The fall 2006 survey (Sept. 21 to Dec. 13) was the first in which Arbitron added instructions in the diary asking respondents to indicate their listening to satellite and Internet radio in addition to traditional AM and FM radio.

Although Arbitron is following satellite and Internet radio, it has yet to decide when they will be reported in its regular local market reports, an initiative it has delayed twice since it announced its intention to include alternative audio media a year ago.

XM and Sirius last week said they intend to merge by year’s end to create a $13 billion entity, though the proposed union could face tough regulatory scrutiny.