DirecTV (DTV:US) Group Inc., the largest U.S. satellite-television provider, will carry 72 channels of talk and music from XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., nearly doubling the TV service's audio offerings.
XM Satellite, the biggest pay-radio company, will get to showcase its channels to DirecTV's 14.7 million subscribers, potentially luring new customers. The programs will be available as part of El Segundo, California-based DirecTV's basic package, which currently includes more than 135 TV channels and 36 radio selections, the companies said today in a statement.
The partnership bolsters DirecTV's slate of programming as it competes for subscribers with EchoStar Communications Corp., the second-biggest satellite-TV provider. The XM Satellite channels, which include baseball, talk shows and radio hosts Opie and Anthony, will be available through DirecTV on Nov. 15.
``The heart of our business is content,'' said XM Chief Executive Officer Hugh Panero said in an interview.
Shares of DirecTV rose 4 cents to $14.95 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Washington-based XM Satellite rose $1.04 to $35.06 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading.
XM Satellite's channels are replacing DirecTV's current supplier of audio content, closely held Music Choice, DirecTV spokesman Bob Marsocci said.
XM Satellite has more than 5 million subscribers and said it will have 6 million by the end of the year. New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., the No. 2 pay radio company, has forecast 3 million customers by the end of 2005.
DirecTV filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles against Music Choice, a partnership of Comcast Corp. and other cable-television providers. The companies disagree on whether DirecTV can end the contract on Nov. 1, according to the complaint.
DirecTV asked the court to issue a ruling that the company is within its rights to end the agreement.
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