There were an estimated 13,649,000 subscribers to satellite radio services as 2006 came to an end, up about 4.4 million from 2005 year end totals.
Sirius enjoyed the biggest year-to-year gains having increased its subscriber total 2,707,440 since 2005 to close 2006 with an estimated total of 6,024,000 customers and also enjoyed its first ever cash free quarter in the fourth quarter.
Rival XM claims to have ended 2006 with 7,625,000 subs, an increase of 1.695 million over 2005 levels with a fourth quarter gain of 442,000 subs. Those numbers are far below the level of 9 million subscribers projected by XM earlier in 2006, estimates that were throttled back later in the year.
"XM completed another year of significant subscriber growth, despite retail softness, and did so with continued cost controls, achieving positive cash flow from operations during the fourth quarter," said Hugh Panero, Chief Executive Officer, XM Satellite Radio.
While the claims by both XM and Sirius that they were cash flow positive for the first time ever in the 4th quarter of 2006 are encouraging for the business, that news does not equate to either company being profitable. Both companies still had to overcome losses in the first three quarters of the year and the trend of stronger numbers at year end as compared to results at the start of the calender year is likely to continue at both companies in 2007.