Sirius XM Radio Inc. has updated its new subscribers forecast for the full year 2012 from the previous prediction of 1.6 million to 1.8 million, prompted by the continued increase in auto sales. In a statement Wednesday, the satellite-radio broadcaster disclosed that it added 445,921 subscribers in the third quarter of 2012, bringing its total customer base to a record 23.4 million. Sirius chief executive Mel Karmazin said in the statement that the period in review was the best third quarter since Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio merged in 2008. Sirius is also on pace for record annual net additions. According to Karmazin, Sirius already added nearly 1.5 million net subscribers in the year to September and along with continuing growth in auto sales, the satellite-radio broadcaster will significantly exceed its previous guidance of 1.6 million. Sirius added around 1.7 million customers in 2011.
Karmazin divulged in September 2012 that the service is preinstalled in about two-thirds of new cars, giving Sirius a huge boost from the reviving auto industry. Despite Sirius’ strong results, Karmazin's employment with the company remains uncertain as his contract is set to finish at the end of 2012.
This also comes as Liberty Media Corp., which holds just under 50 percent of Sirius's shares, has informed the Federal Communications Commission that it plans to take control of the satellite-radio broadcaster. Greg Maffei, chief executive of Liberty Media, remarked in September that Karmazin wasn't "irreplaceable." Liberty Chairman John Malone quipped in July 2012 that he plans to spin off the stake in Sirius if its takeover plan gets approval. Karmazin responded that that such a move might increase his interest in staying with Sirius.