Sirius XM: Ramp Up in Marketing of iPhone App Is a Positive Sign

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Includes: AAPL, SIRI
by: Satwaves

by Brandon Matthews

Don’t look now, but Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) is making a comeback! I can remember when I first discovered Sirius Satellite Radio. One of the very first advertisements I recall seeing was a billboard in New York City, perched above I-95 as I sat in traffic. As an investor in the company at that time, I remember feeling pleased with the investment. Advertising picked up after that on all forms of media, including television. That was 15 million subscribers ago, or six years…take your pick.

Since that time, it seems as if nearly all forms of advertising outside of Sirius XM’s subscriber base have ceased. Occasionally a report will come in that a T.V. commercial was spotted, yet none seem to follow to validate the initial report. That’s not to say a lack of apparent marketing to the 300 million plus potential subscribers in the continental United States is a bad thing. Advertising costs money. I can assure you that the company knows to the dollar the exact return it will receive on ad spending . The fact is that during these trying economic times with people cutting back on discretionary spending, it made little sense to advertise.

Things are literally “looking up,” for Sirius XM Radio. This morning “Stang302,” an astute poster on the Satwaves discussion forum posted a picture of a Sirius XM billboard that sits high atop Hollywood California today, announcing the arrival of the company’s new and most popular Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone & iPod touch music app. There are no doubt many such billboards throughout the country at this time.

The popularity of Apple’s products inside major cities from New York or Los Angeles is astounding. It seems as though everyone walking down the streets are doing so with those two noticeable white wires hanging from their heads. Placing these billboard ads in these highly populated areas is a great way to reach many potential subscribers at the lowest possible cost. The app is free to download and even non-subscribers can sign up for a free trial. Who in their right mind would say no to that?

The fact that these billboards exist means that the expected return on the investment is more than just nominal. It means that the program is a success for the company as it closes out the second quarter of ‘09. Further proof can be found at Apple’s iTunes store, which today boasts Sirius XM’s new app as a featured app as well as a top spot on the app store.

Position: Long SIRI