For those who invest in Sirius XM (SIRI), it has become almost comical at this point to read opinions from individuals stating that Sirius XM is on the verge of being struck down by, well, just about anything.
Kofi Bofah wrote an opinion piece recently stating that Web 2.0 will "destroy Sirius XM." It's the latest in a string of uninformed opinions that Sirius XM investors have had to put up with over the years and upon reading it, I had to shake my head and unfortunately, roll my eyes.
I'll spare the small criticisms, such as Kofi getting the market cap of Sirius XM wrong, or Kofi's quoting of a $5.3 billion loss in the wrong year and failing to disclose the reasons for this, which were one time write-offs related to the Sirius and XM merger. Instead, let's get to the core of his theory: that Web 2.0 will destroy Sirius XM.
Kofi hypothesizes that Sirius XM will succumb to this ominous Web 2.0 platform, which he describes as:
"Web 2.0 infrastructure supports customized interaction, where private users are free to produce and share their own content."
Essentially what Kofi is saying is that what many refer to as social media, which is comprised of companies such as Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), Pandora (P), Apple (AAPL) and many others, pose a threat to Sirius XM's business, which is a subscription based satellite and internet delivered audio entertainment service.
Nonsense. These services and companies have been around for years now, and in those same years Sirius XM has seen solid and steady growth to the point that it is nearly at $1 billion in free cash flow.
How does Kofi suggest that this Web 2.0 will destroy Sirius XM?
"As an entertainment center, the iPhone dock amplifies sound through earphones, standalone Bose speakers, and automotive consoles. This expansion of the do-it-yourself digital medium is End Game for satellite radio and Big Media, at large."
Take a step back for a moment and read that again. Slowly. The iPhone dock amplifies sound through earphones and speakers. Now, because of this ability, this is the "end game" for satellite radio AND big media, Kofi claims.
Now remember folks, Sirius XM delivers various forms of audio entertainment such as music, sports, Howard Stern, news, comedy, etc. Because of this, Kofi lumps in Sirius XM with "big media."
"On September 21, Gallup released results of a poll indicating that American distrust of our media is now at an all-time high. According to the data, 60% of all Americans have little to no trust in newspaper, television, or radio communications. Amid election season, only 31% and 26% of Independents and Conservatives, respectively, can relate to the media with a "fair amount of trust." For Sirius, trending alienation towards Big Media threatens to destroy its subscriber rolls and advertising revenue."
Let's just stop here and come back to reality. The Gallup poll above is referencing consumer trust towards news outlets, and not their trust of "music, comedy, and sports." In no way can Sirius XM be brought anywhere within the scope of this poll. It's patently absurd to think that American distrust of the large news organizations will push individuals to cancel their subscriptions to Sirius XM's audio entertainment content.
Kofi now goes on to state incorrectly:
"At this point, Sirius shareholders should not expect to collect upon a significant premium from Liberty Media, which now wields de facto control."
Yet it is well known that Liberty Media (LMCA) does not have de facto control of Sirius XM at all, and that the FCC denied its application. Liberty has even removed their petition to the FCC for de facto control and re-filed for de jure control, which again, it does not have. Liberty's current position is a 49.6% stake in the satellite radio company and not over 50%.
Finally, what is the last reason Kofi says will destroy Sirius XM?
"Amid recession, cyclical automotive sales will decline sharply and stymie John Malone's turnaround efforts. Recent reports out of China, India, and Western Europe highlight weak automotive sales in line with a slowing global economy. Contagion from the Euro-Zone crisis, of course, directly threatens consumer confidence and Sirius' fragile business model."
The dreaded Eurozone, and slowing car sales in other countries, Kofi believes, will threaten consumer confidence over here in the United States and because of this, consumers will cancel their Sirius XM subscriptions.
Web 2.0, Apple, Pandora, Europe, and American distrust of big media have had little to no effect on Sirius XM to date. When considering that this year alone Sirius XM has already added over 1 million subscribers, and is on track to quite possibly beat their guidance for the year by over 50%, it's obvious that Sirius XM is not even close to dying. Many investors are expecting an announcement soon upping subscriber guidance to 2 million or more.
If you're looking for an excellent several part series on the strengths of Sirius XM, look no further than fellow Seeking Alpha author Spencer Osborne's recent string of articles starting with:
Spencer is well informed about the ins and outs of Satellite radio and this series of articles put out by him will get you started down the road of fact, rather than fiction.
Despite the constant barrage of doom and gloom opinion about Sirius XM that has pervaded the internet over the years, one thing has been constant. Those opinions have been wrong, and those who tout those opinions tend to stick around for a short time and then vanish. What has not vanished is the truth that Sirius XM is running strong, and continuing to perform like a well oiled machine. For support on this, one has to only look at the share price which has been testing multi-year highs lately.
Investors in Sirius XM who have tuned out the noise have done and will continue to do exceptionally well. That's not opinion. That's just fact.