SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO LAUNCH DELAYED AGAIN

New Date Set for Feb.; Rival XM Forges Ahead

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Sirius Satellite Radio, which has postponed the consumer launch of its subscription-based radio service twice this year, said it will launch Feb. 14 in Denver, Houston and Phoenix.

Sirius had pushed back its original launch date of late spring/early summer to the fourth quarter of this year due to manufacturing problems that forced it to postpone radio shipments to its automaker partners BMW of North America, DaimlerChrysler and Ford Motor Co.

Sirius then delayed last month's fourth-quarter launch to expand in-vehicle testing to six additional markets to continue evaluating radios, transmission, distribution, installation, sales support and customer service.

Retail sales push
Sirius, which hopes to roll out nationally by the third quarter of 2002, will focus initially on

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selling it service at retail.

"While the larger opportunity for Sirius is clearly with the automakers, our near-term focus will be on the retail markets," said Co-CEO-CFO John Scelfo in a conference call today.

Sirius plans an integrated marketing push -- including advertising, direct marketing and online marketing, point-of-sale, public relations and events -- through Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, although the company would not disclose details.

Rival makes debut first
Rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings, whose subscription fee is $9.99 vs. Sirius' fee of $12.95, announced earlier this week that it is rolling out its service nationally, after an initial launch in San Diego and Dallas/Fort Worth in September.

But Sirius thinks it can benefit from being second to market.

"We think we can springboard off our competitor's initial launch," Mr. Scelfo said, adding that "by coming second, we feel we can leverage off the good job that [XM] has done in product marketing and [building] industry awareness."

Budget said to be $100 million
Mr. Scelfo would not disclose spending, although the budget was intitially estimated at $100 million when it was awarded to Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, which lost the integrated business to McCann in September.

Sirius, which said its competive advantage is that all of its music channels are commercial-free, increased the number of ad-free music channels to 60 from 50. The 40 remaining channels are non-music programming such as news and sports.

XM, also with 100 channels, has 71 music channels, 30 of which have no commercial spots.

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