Reading the news one would think that Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) has a monopoly in satellite-delivered entertainment to the car. However, there are indeed competitors on the horizon, and some of them have big names. AT&T (NYSE:T) is teaming up with RaySat to offer CruiseCast in vehicle entertainment. The partnership also extends to Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ:CAR), who intends to roll out services beginning in mid 2009.
CruiseCast concentrates on video, having deals with networks such as Disney Channel, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, Animal Planet, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network Mobile, USA, COMEDY CENTRAL, MSNBC, CNN Mobile Live and CNBC. In all there are 22 video channels in the service. Also included will be 20 music channels.
Through Avis, CruiseCast will cost about $8.95 per day vs. about $5 for Sirius XM. There is little detail on whether CruiseCast intends on going mainstream via installation deals with OEMs, or even in the retail channel. CruiseCast's video line-up is impressive, but will the audio side of their entertainment stream measure up? Will it be affordable enough for consumers?
For the time being, there are many hurdles for CruiseCast, but with AT&T backing up the deal, the company can afford to bring to market a competitive choice. The biggest initial customers are likely to be the rental business, RV enthusiasts, and America’s truckers.
For those seeking a possible derivative play, Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ:SNCR) is providing the subscriber account management and front end service activation for the AT&T CruiseCast service.