With the words, “Alexa, play Howard Stern on SiriusXM,” the venerable satellite radio network may be well on its way to conquering the challenge of in-home listening.
Up to now, SiriusXM listening has been largely confined to the car. Yes, they've sold “radios” that some diehard fans purchased for their homes or workplaces, along with the ability to stream satellite radio channels.
But now by using the Amazon Echo voice technology as its “radio,” SiriusXM seamlessly moves from the driveway to the kitchen…the den, the bedroom and even the bathroom. It's a brilliant move as they realized long ago that few would buy a device just to tune in satellite radio programs outside the car. As broadcast radio people have learned (perhaps begrudgingly), no one buys a standalone radio anymore. In fact, it's become difficult to do so.
Instead, they buy a device with a “radio” built in – a smartphone, a car, and now, the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and later this year, the Apple HomePod.
For SiriusXM, accessing their 200+ channels with a simple shout-out to the ever-popular Alexa is a giant leap forward.
An interesting aspect of the satellite radio platform is how much it mirrors the broadcast radio audience. Unlike many modern technologies and media outlets, SiriusXM skews older, male, and suburban. The experience of listening to satellite radio in the car – with pushbutton presets – is also remarkably similar to selecting and changing AM/FM stations.
For broadcast radio operators, this new SiriusXM collaboration with Amazon is a shot across the bow. Our Techsurveys – both the commercial and the soon-to-be-released Public Radio version – peg ownership of Echo-type devices at 11%-12%. And they will continue to grow, especially as these types of partnerships are announced.
Radio companies need to get moving, to strategize how their stations will make optimal use of the technology and these highly affordable gadgets. It's no longer enough to simply hope that Alexa locates a station's stream on TuneIn. It's now becoming table stakes for these devices to take consumers to a station's proprietary stream, as well as open the door to accessing content features and on-demand resources.
This one's moving quickly.
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