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SiriusXM is targeting younger customers with new app and streaming plan

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 08: (L-R) Scott Greenstein, Kevin Hart, Ashley Flowers, and Kelly Clarkson speak onstage during the SiriusXM Next Generation: Industry & Press Preview at The Tisch Skylights at The Shed on November 08, 2023 in New York City.

Bryan Bedder | Getty Images Entertainment

SiriusXM announced Wednesday that it will launch a revamped app and a newly priced streaming plan as it pushes to attract younger customers.

The company will launch the offerings on Dec.14, first on streaming, and later in car interfaces. It will price the new plan at $9.99 per month.

“Our growth audience is millennials and younger, who are willing to pay for an experience,” CEO Jennifer Witz said during an event Wednesday where the company unveiled the new services. The star-studded event included appearances by Howard Stern, Conan O’Brien, Andy Cohen and Kevin Hart, and a performance by Kelly Clarkson.

The satellite radio company, home to big-name hosts like Howard Stern and Andy Cohen, is hoping its new app interface will make the millennial and younger generations, many of whom are used to Spotify or Apple Music, feel right at home. The move comes as Sirius looks for a jolt to pull it out of stagnant sales and a 20% decline in its share price this year.

Listeners will now have “always-on” curation and a personalized library featuring four new stations on the app landing page: Music, Talk & Podcasts, Sports, and For You. The app will also bring features like enhanced search, improved podcast listening and greater content discovery, the company said in a press release.

“The current app only put our radio on the phone,” Chief Product and Technology Officer Joe Inzerillo told CNBC. “This new app will offer more which will then be mirrored in the car.”

With the new platform, listeners will be able to pick up where they left off across devices, including the car, phone, or Fire TV. This means those tuning into a podcast, interview, or sports game can go listen on another device without losing their place.

“Typically, we see [the improved listening experience] supporting lower churn and higher conversion, driving net adds and higher customer lifetime value over time,” Morgan Stanley wrote in a Thursday note.

SiriusXM has shed subscribers recently, as it reported a loss of 94,000 satellite radio subscribers in the third quarter.

The company hopes that what Witz called its “human touch” will set SiriusXM apart from other streaming competitors. Music superstars Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson and John Mayer are launching new year-round SiriusXM channels this month that will feature their handpicked curation of songs.

The company is also simplifying its pricing structure, offering its new Streaming All Access Plan for $9.99 a month, a dollar cheaper than its current all-inclusive streaming plan. The cheaper price tag is another bid to attract millennial and younger customers, who may already pay for another streaming service.

“We see this as a supplemental product,” Witz told CNBC on Wednesday. “We know people already have a separate music library, but we’re here for discovery.”

Morgan Stanley analysts believe the changes could help the company bring in younger listeners.

“We see the opportunity for the new product to help broaden the base, to younger, more often streaming-only consumers,” they said in the note Thursday. “The newly announced $9.99 per month price point may help. We note the product will have to compete against stiffer competition (e.g., Spotify, Apple, Amazon) relative to its in-car product vs. AM/FM radio.”

The company also continues to make headway on its satellite radio compatibility in new cars. Select-model 2024 Polestar vehicles will come equipped with SiriusXM 360L technology, which combines satellite and streaming features, the company announced Wednesday.

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