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Old 08-01-2006, 09:21 AM   #1
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Default Chocolate vs. Stiletto

Just as SIRIUS prepares to launch the Stiletto portable satellite radio this August, Verizon Wireless is countering with a hybrid Cell Phone and digital music player called "Chocolate".

Verizon partnered with Korean consumer electronics giant LG to import the Chocolate to the American market.

LG has sold more than 1 million devices worldwide since May. Verizon has felt the competitive muscle of Apple's iPod, as the Chocolate has has comparable storage to Apple's 1GB Shuffle or 2GB Nano iPod designs.

Instead of trying to convert iPod devotees, Verizon will compete for customers by focusing on people who don't yet have a portable digital music player, said John Harrobin, vice president of digital media for Verizon Wireless, during a conference call with reporters.

"Radio is heavily programmed and can be formulaic. But this mobile platform is an excellent device for music discovery," he said.

SIRIUS is looking to break out of the confines of their structured channel lineup with the Stiletto and Zing players, which is said to feature community music discovery features and dynamic playlist capabilities.

"Our personal live satellite radio product, Stiletto, is great," Mel Karamazin, chief executive officer of Sirius, said on a conference call. "We have been beta testing it for a few weeks and we will have it available to consumers by the end of the summer."

Verizon will sell the Chocolate phone for $149.99, with a two-year subscription and after a $50 rebate. V CAST songs cost 99 cents if purchased from a PC or $1.99 if purchased and downloaded over the air.

In comparison, SIRIUS Stiletto will likely retail for $350-$450, in line with comparable devices from XM such as the Inno and Helix.

Nonetheless, SIRIUS has the continued challenge of balancing retail hardware costs with a monthly subscription service. Compelling content is the enabler, however new devices such as Verizon's Chocolate, Apple's iPod and Microsoft's upcoming Zune player will make the back-to-school and holiday seasons competitive for the Stiletto.
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:43 AM   #2
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Jeff, I agree 100% that Sirius is going to have a time competing in the future with devices such as the Chocolate especially when Sirius' products do come with such a cost. And like you said they've got a subscription fee too. Nonetheless, I think Sirius will advance in technology along with them and they'll be able to compete. The Zing technology is a big step for them in doing this. As for the Stilleto we'll have to wait for some folks to get their hands on it to see if it will be a competitior in the market.
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:00 PM   #3
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Rumor has it that Verizon is dropping the subscription fee. in favor of a 2 dollar for 2 download fee. The 2 downloads are the same song, once to the Chocolate, once to your home computer.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:50 PM   #4
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I saw a commercial for the "Chocolate" phone last night. I don't like the look of the phone, I enjoy my "Blade" phone! Slim, sleek perfect for me!
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:23 PM   #5
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I, for one, don't want an expensive portable for downloading music. I would rather have it to record programs to listen to at another time...
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:58 PM   #6
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Sirius has renewed their lifetime subs till Jan/2007. I think this is a ploy on their part to make revs look better and to load their war chest. Whether it will help or hurt is yet to be seen. I am a bit worried about gas prices and it's affect on this industry. My car goes 80 miles on four gallons of gas and it costs 12 bucks. I think some will really think hard before they instill satrad knowing it will cost them this much and a rate increase would kill sirius. I just have to wonder whether this industry will ever take off. My money just sits there and seemingly wastes away. Good Luck but it doesn't look good.
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandalay
My car goes 80 miles on four gallons of gas and it costs 12 bucks. I think some will really think hard before they instill satrad knowing it will cost them this much
Yeah, but what are you listening to for that 80 miles?

If you have to choose between satRadio subscription or gas money, then you're probably not financially set for satRadio... and are not part of the demographic that they are aiming for...

IMO, most folks are in their cars by necessity, not so much recreationally. I don't recall EVER cancelling a trip due to the price of gas. And I listen a lot at home and at work where gasoline is not an issue...

A better comparison for this discussion is that you could download 6 songs to the Chocolate for the same price as a month worth of Sirius programming on the Stiletto
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:57 AM   #8
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songs for a buck. Good luck selling that with Limewire out there cranking away.
Sirius is still the better buy, it's hold more music
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Old 08-02-2006, 06:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandalay
I think this is a ploy on their part to make revs look better
The full $500 is not revenue on the income statement... The $500 is spread out over a certain number of years, with 1 years worth appearing as revenue.
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:49 AM   #10
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The full $500 is not revenue on the income statement... The $500 is spread out over a certain number of years, with 1 years worth appearing as revenue.
That is true...but they do get all of the cash to spend now.
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:28 AM   #11
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I think sat radio (XM or SIRIUS, doesn't matter which) is trying to provide a unit that is portable and receives their service that will also do many of the thing a digital music player will do. Keep in mind that a real iPod (not a Nano which a different -- and less useful -- animal) is also quite expensive and you have to load it with your own stuff or buy the music; it doesn't receive anything or provide any service.

The cell phone products are different from sat rad. They are trying to give customers a phone which will also do some of the same things a portable music device does but they also do not (some which receive limited sat radio channels are a different matter) provide any kind of content withour paying more for it.

I don't see the cell phone and sat rad products competing per se. One is for folks who want that kind of value added in their phone device and the other is for sat radio subscribers who want that kind of value added in the receiver. I imagine there are folks who, if their cell phone is also a portable music device, will not shell out for a satellite receiver that is simlar. But getting the phone for that low price also means signing up for a more expensive phone plan and a long commitment to phone service, forget any additonal costs for downloading music. the cost for the phone is artificially low and they make it up in your commitment to service.

Sat radio used to do that, too, if you remember -- big rebates or free low-end receivers. They still do it with equipment built-in to vehicles to encourage subscriptions. Difference is the phone companies make big profits on their service whereas sat radio still has a limited subscriber base and can't really afford to give away equipment; that strategy hasn't worked toward increasing subscriptions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SISO
Jeff, I agree 100% that Sirius is going to have a time competing in the future with devices such as the Chocolate especially when Sirius' products do come with such a cost. And like you said they've got a subscription fee too. Nonetheless, I think Sirius will advance in technology along with them and they'll be able to compete. The Zing technology is a big step for them in doing this. As for the Stilleto we'll have to wait for some folks to get their hands on it to see if it will be a competitior in the market.
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Old 08-03-2006, 10:33 AM   #12
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There isn't much difference between an ipod or portable satelite device when it comes to price. Its true, on a ipod one does have to load their own music but no monthly payment.
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportboy
There isn't much difference between an ipod or portable satelite device when it comes to price. Its true, on a ipod one does have to load their own music but no monthly payment.
True with the iPod, but not necessarily true with all MP3 players. They recently introduced Yahoo Unlimited and Napster To Go, both for a flat fee allow you download to your portable MP3 player an almost unlimited amount of music. These services have up to 1.5 millions tunes available for download. Currently Yahoo has a deal if you pay for a year $119.99 with a MC, you'll get one year free. So you basically end up paying $4.95 a month. There are some really nice players out there with up to 20 gigs of space for less than $200.00. If you get into the 30 gig with video the price goes to around $280. These players are full featured, many more features than the current portable sat radios.

You compare the S50 or XM2GO's 1 gig of storage, no album art, very limited access for playback and no video. 5 hours of battery life vs. 14 to 18 hours for mp3 players and this is using the sat media players for playing content, not as live tuners. Sat Radio has a long way to go before they are going to be able to compete head to head with these units. I recently bought a Zen and I'll tell you I am so, so much more impressed with it than I have ever been with any of the Sat Radios I've bought.

The Stiletto will be raising the bar, but it needs to have larger memory for storing MP3/WMA's and recording content. It really needs to support working with services like Yahoo and Napster Music as the XM2GO does for XM. I could go on, but they have to bring it on if they are going to compete not only with XM portables, but with all these new MP3/WMA players by some big names. I totally think the Creative Zen Vision:M ROCK!!!
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Old 08-04-2006, 11:57 PM   #14
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Great post, DAB. That's why I think in order for Sirius (or XM) to compete, they'll have to partner up with a company that makes these other devices. You sound as if you really like your Zen, but imagine how much cooler it would be if it had Sirius built in.
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Great post, DAB. That's why I think in order for Sirius (or XM) to compete, they'll have to partner up with a company that makes these other devices. You sound as if you really like your Zen, but imagine how much cooler it would be if it had Sirius built in.
Nice to hear from you... Yes, I really am enjoying my Zen a lot. I was so anti-MP3 player for so long that I didn't realize what I was missing out on. Then again until recently it cost a fortune to fill one of these babies up with tunes. But you are so right, the Zen would be darn cool if it also offered SIRIUS.

I still love my S50 and use it during some parts of my day. I got to get my dose of Court TV, a little bit of Howard and some news. Plus a couple of my favorite music channels, but I have been using the Zen a good bit too. If my S50 would have had about 4 gigs of space, I may have never gotten the Zen. But now that I have the Zen, I actually have about 15 gigs of music and still adding. LOL I was showing off family pictures today, while some tunes was playing in the background with the Zen. Everyone thought that was so darn cool. Not to mention I had a few joke mpg's videos that I was able to show and got everyone to laughing. Yeah, I love this thing.
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