OK, my math SAT score left a little something to be desired, but years of analyzing callout and extrapolated Arbitrends qualify me to raise an eyebrow over recently reported Sirius subscriber rates. According to TheStreet.com, while Sirius reports adding 359,000 new customers in the third quarter, there are some questionable reporting practices in effect.
– First, Sirius reportedly sometimes starts counting a new sub at the moment a car shows up at the dealership (while XM waits until the buyer activates its service).
– Second, a Legg Mason analyst reports that it can take as long as 17 months for Sirius to report a disconnect.
Of course, there is no reporting standard for satellite radio, while terrestrial gets its report card every month from Arbitron. At the very least doesn't Sarbanes Oxley apply to satellite radio as well? XM and Sirius have every right to hype their numbers, and we all know how effectively they spin their product. But, how about a standard so at least Wall Street gets a true, consistent picture of how these companies are really performing?