Merging Questions

Fast Company first wrote about the competition between XM and Sirius a couple of years ago, and while rereading the piece might not be a lesson in “I told you so,” the companies’ recent merger (subscription may be required) might be of interest.

For me, the merger raises several questions. One, does the merger indicate that the very idea of satellite radio has promise — or that it might be an idea before its time? If there’s truly a sizable business opportunity here, might it not be able to support more than one company? Secondly, I’m somewhat confused by broadcasters’ plans to challenge the merger. Mightn’t another satellite radio company be formed some day? Is a company a trust if there’s still the opportunity for other businesses to enter a market?

And thirdly, what’s the appeal? I personally have little interest in satellite radio. I’m not an avid radio listener, and part of me still feels like satellite radio is basically Music Choice (the cable television audio music channels) without the lame trivia questions and karaoke-quality visuals. I’m also curious whether the company’s attempts to differentiate themselves content-wise is working. Is Howard Stern appeal enough to sign up for the service?

Maybe the market’s too small for one company.