OEM Still a Crucial Sales Channel for Sat Radio

The automotive - or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) - part of the satellite radio business continued to demonstrate its importance during the first quarter.

Both Sirius and XM reported strong OEM additions for the three-month period. When numbers for the companies are combined, vehicle manufacturer partners generated about 676,000 customers for the satellite radio sector during the quarter.

Sirius said its OEM subscribers increased 72 percent in the first quarter to 3.986 million, up from 2.32 million at the end of first quarter 2007. The company netted 322,534 total subscribers during the three-month period, of which 321,186 were generated from the OEM channel.

Sirius ended the first quarter with 8.644 million customers.

XM ended the first quarter with 9.33 million subscribers. The growth was driven by a 49 percent year-over-year increase in the number of gross additions through the automotive channel, the company said.

Net subscriber additions from XM's OEM efforts amounted to 355,000 during the quarter.