“It’s time to address the 800-pound gorilla in the room. A year from now, Howard Stern will be at the end of his five-year deal with Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI). In a tactfully prudent move, satellite radio’s biggest celebrity has yet to divulge his plans for 2011,” Rick Aristotle Munarriz writes for The Motley Fool.
Munarriz asks, “Will his contract be renewed? If his deal is extended, will the terms be for more or less money and for more or less time on the air? Can satellite radio survive without him?”
“In an ideal world, Stern would elevate himself to more of an overseer role, but the shame there is that he hasn’t exactly mentored a fleet of potential replacements,” Munarriz writes. “He has padded his Howard 101 channel with capable bad boys, including Bubba the Love Sponge and Scott Ferrall, but in the end, this is a situation like Berkshire Hathaway after Warren Buffett or Apple sans Steve Jobs.”
“Stern’s biggest crime is that he became too good at what he has done, to the point that he’s indispensible,” Munarriz writes. “If so, he also has a third option that would shun both terrestrial and satellite radio entirely.”
Munarriz writes, “One of the reasons Sirius XM’s streaming application through Apple failed to move the needle was the lack of Stern. His contract excludes streaming through wireless devices. How many more people will own smartphones come 2011? Will there be enough for Stern to launch his own premium app? If he can get a million diehard fans to pay $8.33 a month for app access, that’s a $100 million gross right there, before we begin to consider sponsorships and other revenue-generating possibilities. He’s been given plenty of autonomy at Sirius XM, but this would be his empire entirely, as he once again would ride the hot media trend of the moment.”
Full article here.