Audio entertainment giant SiriusXM has raised its 2020 subscriber forecast ahead of an appearance by CEO Jim Meyer at a virtual investor conference on Wednesday.
SiriusXM now expects full-year self-pay subscriber net additions of approximately 700,000, up from 500,000. The company reiterated its financial guidance for the year.
“Our business continues to demonstrate strong performance and favorable trends since we resumed providing our subscriber and financial guidance in conjunction with our second- quarter earnings report” following the initial hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic, Meyer said in a statement. “It’s clear that demand for SiriusXM remains strong – quite simply, consumers continue to find immense value in our unique audio bundle and all of the entertainment and information it provides.”
The CEO added that improving new car sales and a rising new car penetration rate “have led to a robust trial funnel that we believe bodes well for the coming quarters.”
Meyer told analysts at the end of July that SiriusXM’s business model had been resilient during the pandemic, with improving trends. “We are poised for a strong finish to the year, despite the uncertain economic outlook and rising COVID-19 cases in parts of the country,” he said.
Management has lauded its appealing content as key to attracting and retaining subscribers.
One key part of the firm’s content offering is coming into focus again as the end of the year nears. Meyer earlier this year had said he was planning to hold more formal talks with Howard Stern about a potential contract renewal for his The Howard Stern Show as the current five-year deal for it expires at the end of 2020.
Stern has been on SiriusXM for 15 years, and “I am sure that every penny we paid Howard our shareholders have economically benefited from,” Meyer said on Wednesday. He added that he was “personally deeply engaged” in conversations with Stern’s team and was “very optimistic” about them. “We continue to make progress.”
SiriusXM, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media, previously said the current pact was part of a broader “12-year agreement, under which legendary broadcaster Stern” has continued to produce and host The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM. Under the current deal, financial details of which weren’t disclosed, SiriusXM also launched its first venture into video programming with Stern.
Asked on an earnings conference call earlier in the year about a mention Stern had made about being open to ideas for his contract, Meyer replied he had made “really clear” that “I want Howard Stern to be on SiriusXM for as long as Howard wants to work,” lauding their “tremendous relationship” that has “never been better.”
In July, he said talks had picked up steam “I know what Howard wants. And we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together. I don’t want to be overly optimistic here, but I want Howard here,” Meyer said then. “We’ll keep working and we’ll get there, I hope. At the end of the day, it will come down to what Howard wants to do.”
He shared his hope to have more to say on the situation on the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call, which usually takes place in late October.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.