BMW Deal With Sirius Shows Road To More Successful Business Model for Sat Radio

Posted by: David Kiley on March 17, 2005

BMW struck a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio to promote its new 3-series car. The partnership is the first such for Sirius, giving BMW access to the satellite radio service’s growing audience of 1.24 million subscribers.

The effort launches March 26 and features a 44-day cross-country travelogue style show, “3 Across America.” It will winds up on May 6 with an 18-hour broadcast on a new Sirius outlet for the carmaker: BMW Channel, and a live concert starring top performers yet to be named.

Sirius and competitor XM Radio are grappling with how to raise revenue through other means besides higher subscription fees and tiered services. Advertising is the obvious way to go, but both services are walking carefully so they don’t spoil the commercial-light Sat Radio experience, especially the largely commercial free music channels.

Terms of the agreement are not disclosed, so we don’t know how much BMW is paying for the deal. But we’ll be listening to see if the German automaker has found a way to weave its brand messages into radio content as deftly as it did with BMWFilms.com.

If successful, count on seeing a lot more such branded content channels on the sat radio services. The BMW model is sure to be copied. Another idea to look for—shopping on the radio. It’s not much of a reach to think of a channel or two featuring people selling music collections, DVD box sets (the audio from the shows or movies could be featured, tools, consumer electronics, travel packages. The model here would be for goods where seeing the product is not crucial, as it is with apparel.

 

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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