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SiriusXM Matches Wall Street Q4 Forecasts, But Projects Flat Revenue In 2023 Due To Automotive Industry Softness

Audio entertainment company SiriusXM reported fourth-quarter results that were largely in line with Wall Street expectations, with total revenue of about $2.3 billion and earnings per share of 9 cents.

The company also adding 348,000 self-paying subscribers in the period. On a conference call with analysts, CEO Jennifer Witz, said average revenue per user hit a record high in 2022, while churn (the percentage of subscribers canceling) set a record low. She called that combination “a reflection of subscribers’ high satisfaction with the premium listening experience we continue to evolve and enhance.”

Wall Street had expected revenue of $2.3 billion and earnings of 8 cents a share.

The company issued 2023 financial guidance, including revenue of $9 billion. That would be flat with 2022.

Investors reacted negatively to the quarterly report and full-year outlook, sending shares in Sirius down almost 6% in early trading at around $5.50. They have recently slipped to their lowest level since 2020.

SiriusXM has diversified in recent years, acquiring music streamer Pandora and pushing into podcasting, but its traditional base of satellite subscribers in cars remains under pressure. New and used car trial starts fell 3% and 7% in the quarter, respectively, the company said. Witz noted the impact of macroeconomic factors like inflation on auto pricing, adding that new and used car sales “drive our primary trial funnels and are an important part of how we subsequently add self-pay subscribers.”

Although the advertising climate has been choppy, and podcasting is not immune to that trend, SiriusXM has assembled a formidable lineup of top titles. Among the best-known are Crime Junkie, Office Ladies, Dateline NBC, Pod Save America and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Driven by podcasts, the company reported “off-platform” ad revenue of $475 million for the full year 2022, up 34% from 2021.

Witz said audience-based advertising tools are starting to provide a lift. “This part of our offering provides greater efficiency through automation, which is still nascent in podcasting, making it a fantastic opportunity for us as we continue to grow this area of our business,” she said.

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