Web Intelligence for Masses – Satellite Radio Wars

August 25, 2006 at 5:57 pm | Posted in Unscientific Research | Leave a comment
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This blog is inspired by the Business Week article “Grudge Match”.

Satellite radio is slowly but steadily coming into our cars, our family rooms, into our cell phones and PDAs, into our teen’s portable music players. Some people even think that it is the best thing after sliced bread. We do not know but it is really cool. You can choose a genre of music you are into or sports and just soak in it, and it is all without damn commercials.  

The satellite radio jukeboxes threaten the traditional distribution of music through CDs or DVDs even more than all Napsters and Kazaas combined because it is mainstream and perfectly legal. The music recording industry has already started taking notice and eventually will launch some sort of war asking for more royalty fees either eating up the radio provider’s profit or pushing up the user fees. However, for now, it is not an enemy #1.  

Sirius and XM side by side     The North American continent is a battlefield between two satellite giants: XM and Sirius (WorldSpace enjoys the European/Asian monopoly for now). Signs of the War are everywhere – they are fighting for retail customers and sales clerks (get into the Source by Circuit City in Canada and they don’t even want to talk about XM – just Sirius), for carmakers (XM signed up GM, VW and all Asian car manufactures while Sirius successfully courted BMW, Daimler-Chrysler and Ford), for radio anchors (does the Howard Stern’s name ring the bell?), for the Wall Street analysts, media and policymakers.  

Consumers have not seen such fierce duopoly’s war since Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola in the soft drink market. The war needs to have a great intelligence. The economic wars need Competitive Intelligence (CI).  

We strongly felt that Newsmastering combined with Data Mining could deliver the best online CI solution. This Radar was supposed to serve as a prototype of the online CI services. We would monitor and analyze all news, pundits’ and consumers’ opinions about XM and Sirius and keep you posted who are winning this Satellite War.  

Well, after almost 2 months, do we know who is winning hearts and purses of the satellite radio neophytes? Sort of…  

As of mid-August, search for “XM” using the XM vs. Sirius radar returned 2595 results for XM and 2468 results for Sirius. Since the radar inception, its visitors searched 311 times for “XM” or “XM Radio” and just 201 times for “Sirius”, “Sirius Radio” or “Sirius Satellite Radio”. The difference is quite substantial to see who the clear winner is.

However, our Web analytics do not confirm such a big spread. Our visitors were referred to our radar 308 times when they typed “XM” keyword and 301 times when they were looking for “Sirius”.

We decided to check what authorities in the Web and Blogosphere trendspotting would have to say about this epic battle of our time.

Google Trends indicates that XM (in red on the underlying diagram) is more popular on the Web than Sirius (in blue)

However, the regional trends vary. XM is more popular in the US but Sirius prevails in Europe and in Canada.


The latter, as proud Canadian owners of the Sirius Starmate, we can confirm.

The Blogosphere beg to differ though. Below, the Trends Results by BlogPulse:


For last 6 months, Sirius generated more buzz than XM all the time but three days.

As you can see, the Satellite War is just going on. We will keep you posted.


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