This excerpt taken from the SIRI 8-K filed Mar 21, 2007.
B. The Combined Company Will Provide Consumers More Diverse Programming.
In the long-term, the combined company will provide consumers with an even more diverse selection of content.28 Currently, both Sirius and XM provide a wide range of commercial-free music channels, exclusive and non-exclusive sports coverage, news, talk, traffic and weather, and entertainment programming. However, there is significant overlap and redundancy in the channel line-ups. For example, 12 identical channels are available on both
28 See 2002 Biennial ReviewReview of the Commns Broad. Ownership Rules and Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecomms. Act of 1996, Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 18 FCC Rcd 13,620, 13,631 (¶ 36) (2003) (2003 Media Ownership Order) (noting importance of programming diversity as a Commission policy goal).
Sirius and XM.29 A further 75 channels overlap by genreproviding substantially similar programming (e.g., both offer channels dedicated to music from the 1970s).30
Eventually, the combined company will be able to consolidate much redundant programming. The result ultimately will free capacity for even more diverse offerings that are not currently available on either companys system, including expanded non-English language programming, childrens programming, and additional programming aimed at minority and other underserved populations.31 Without this merger, however, an increase in programming diversity is unlikely, as both companies will be required to maintain overlapping, mainstream content in order to retain and attract customers.32
30 See 2003 Media Ownership Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 13,739 (¶ 308) (noting that duplication of programming . . . generally results in an inefficient use of the scarce radio spectrum and a lost opportunity to use that spectrum to serve the public interest).
31 See Statement of Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, Hearing of the Antitrust Task Force Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Competition and the Future of Digital Music, Feb. 28, 2007, at 2007 WLNR 4055629 (advocating the need for increased diversity for various minority groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and women); Statement of Representative Fred Upton, Hearing of the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Digital Future of the United States: Part II-The Future of Radio, Mar. 7, 2007 (advocating the importance of increasing the availability of foreign language programming to consumers); William J. Drummond, A merged satellite radio still isn't free, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, Mar. 6, 2007, at http://www.freepress.net/news/21540 (last visited Mar. 14, 2007) (noting that satellite radio should strive for programming to capture the imagination of its present listeners as did radio during its golden age and suggesting a channel for original contemporary radio drama).
32 This increased diversity may even stimulate more diverse programming on terrestrial radio. See James Surowiecki, Satellite Sisters, THE NEW YORKER, Mar. 19, 2007, at http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2007/03/19/070319ta_talk_surowiecki (last visited Mar. 17, 2007) (Allowing Sirius and XM to merge . . . would significantly increase the competitive pressure on traditional radio stations, perhaps forcing them to abandon their cookie-cutter model. Paradoxically, by reducing choice you could stimulate diversity. Sometimes, it seems, you can have fewer competitors but more competition.).
This additional capacity also will allow the combined company to provide additional programming related to public safety and homeland security. Indeed, satellite communications have proven to be an essential component of disaster recovery efforts because of their survivability and availability when terrestrial-based communications systems are damaged or otherwise inoperable.33 Both of the Applicants have demonstrated their commitment to homeland security and public safety issues,34 and both companies transmit emergency alert information throughout the country. Indeed, during the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort, XM aired the Red Cross Radio channel, which provided up-to-date disaster relief information to volunteers and the public 24 hours a day, and Sirius equally devoted a channel to Katrina-related information. Sirius and XM also donated radios to the Red Cross.