SIRIUS BUYS RIGHTS TO NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Will Broadcast All 66 'March Madness' Games
MEL KARMAZIN NAMED CEO OF SIRIUS RADIO
Former Viacom President to Join Howard Stern
XM SATELLITE RADIO TO AIR BASEBALL GAMES
$650 Million Deal Ups Ante With Rival Sirius
HOWARD STERN TO ABANDON FM RADIO
Signs Five-Year Deal with Sirius Satellite
Interscope, part of Vivendi Universal's Universal Music Group, is one of the world's largest music groups and counts U2, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, and 50 Cent among its artists. Interscope was founded in 1989 by Jimmy Iovine, the group's chairman.
Promotional and marketing access
The deal offers Sirius promotional and marketing access to Interscope's artists, and makes Mr. Iovine a creative advisor for the satellite radio provider. This isn't the first time the two companies have collaborated; Mr. Iovine was previously involved in the inception of Shade 45, a hip-hop channel that Interscope artist Eminem co-produces exclusively for Sirius.
Sirius last night also announced it now owns the exclusive rights to six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's new weekly show, Lance Armstrong's Live Strong Radio, debuting at the end of the month.
Sirius has continued its quest to add exclusive content to its channels. The New York-based subscription satellite service offers 65 commercial-free music channels and 55 ad-supported news, talk, sports, weather and traffic stations and charges customers $12.95 per month.
Sirius has struck a number of high-profile deals: Last year it purchased the rights to broadcast the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament and signed shock jock Howard Stern to a five-year, $500 million contract that starts in 2006. In 2003 it landed National Football League games in a seven-year, $220 million agreement.
But one of its boldest moves may have been the appointment of Mel Karmazin as CEO on Nov. 18. Mr. Karmazin was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Viacom, and had been the CEO of Infinity radio.
Some of the moves may have begun to pay off: Sirius surpassed 2004 expectations with a year-end total of 1.1 million subscribers, and in a report Merrill Lynch forecasted 2.4 million subscribers in 2005. Merrill Lynch said Mr. Karmazin "brings decades of media experience and a reputation for strict cost discipline, which should help Sirius to develop content/advertising/distribution relationships as content becomes a larger catalyst than distribution."
Sirius' main rival is XM Satellite Radio Holdings, which has 2.5 million subscribers, 130 channels and charges $9.99 a month.