Sirius XM Canada to focus on satellite radio in pre-owned cars for growth

Canada’s only satellite radio company is looking to the pre-owned vehicle market to increase its subscriber base, chief executive Mark Redmond said Tuesday.

The pre-owned market of vehicles now equipped with satellite radio is fairly large and will continue to grow in the coming years, said Redmond, head of Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc.

“So this is a big opportunity for us, not only in the latter part of this year but in 2014 and beyond,” he said.

Sirius XM Canada had 2.2 million subscribers at the end of November.

“The auto market in general right now has been strong, so that bodes well for us when the industry is healthy,” Redmond said from Toronto after Sirius XM Canada’s annual shareholder meeting.

Sirius XM will target certified pre-owned vehicles that aren’t sold as new but “sold as good as new,” Redmond said.

Sirius also will focus on used vehicles that get sold through dealerships.

Buyers in those categories will be offered a 90-trial subscription in hopes they sign on for the pay radio service, which has a base cost of $15.99 a month.

Redmond said Sirius will also target vehicles that are satellite-radio equipped that are “inactive and light them up for two weeks” for free and then use marketing to try to win their owners as subscribers.

Sirius XM has also announced that Chrysler Canada has agreed to factory-install its commercial-free satellite radios into an unspecified number of vehicles over the next five years.

In November, Sirius XM warned that the NHL lockout could cause possible subscriber cancellations, but Redmond said it won’t have any negative effects on the company’s revenue.

“You can only listen to the talk element of it for so long,” he said of the lockout.

Redmond said Sirius will broadcast every NHL game once the shortened season starts this weekend.

Also on Tuesday, the Toronto-based company said its name will change to Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc. from Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (TSX:XSR) to better reflect how it’s known.

“If somebody is looking for us, they’re going to look under Sirius XM and not necessarily under Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings,” Redmond said.

The name change was announced a day after Canadian Satellite Radio reported a $3.3 million profit and $68.9 million of revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2013.

The profit contrasted with the company’s previous losses, including $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2012 with $63.1 million of revenue.

The pay radio service also has exclusive agreements for programming from Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Howard Stern, NASCAR and the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) as well as a variety of music programs.