Sirius Satellite Radio, the nation's second largest provider of Satellite radio services, inked a deal with Ford Motor Company this week that will place factory-installed Sirius equipment in 21 Ford vehicle models. Customers purchasing these cars and trucks will receive a 6-month subscription to the Sirius satellite radio service. The deal is interesting on a number of levels, but mostly it speaks volumes about the migration to subscription-based digital media services.
"Ford is a very important automotive relationship for us, and we are very pleased that they plan to offer factory installed Sirius in the vast majority of their vehicle lines," said Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin. "When you add premium programming from Sirius to quality vehicles from Ford, you have an unbeatable combination that will enhance the driving experience of any Ford customer."
Ford says it will factory install Sirius radios in Ford F-150, Ford Explorer, Lincoln Mark LT, and Mercury Mountaineer vehicles beginning in mid-2005 for the 2006 model year. Another 17 vehicle models will be added over the next two years, and Ford expects to generate one million new customers for Sirius.
Currently, Sirius, with about one million subscribers, lags behind satellite market leader XM Satellite Radio, which has over 3 million subscribers. However, analysts expect the market for satellite radio to grow dramatically over the next few years. In anticipation of that change, satellite providers are lining up new ways for consumers to enjoy satellite-based content, including PC software applications, iPod-like portable media players, and other solutions.