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How Will We Know if Howard Stern is Still King of all Media?



Howard Stern

Howard Stern

Dec 6 2005

ratings and research company, says 1.4 million Stern loyal listeners will follow their King into the Holy Land of No Restrictions.

After all these years of judgment by ratings, maybe SIRIUS will be an oasis for Stern; a place where ratings will personally mean little. Even if that’s the case (and I doubt it), you can be assured the bean counters at SIRIUS will be eyeing every subscriber because the service has to sell ads as well as attract subscribers to make up for that $100 million dollars-a-year over five years which it’s costing to woo Howard over. 1.4 Million new subscribers would go a long way toward that end.

Even if SIRIUS eventually does subscribe to Arbitron’s Satellite Radio ratings service, all you will get is the singular number of Stern’s listeners against the plurality of all of terrestrial radio’s ratings. What in hell will that mean?

Where do you even start with a comparison? And how do you weight any assessment considering satellite listeners invest in hardware and paid subscriptions while terrestrial listeners get it all for free? Is an advertiser more impressed with 1.4 listeners who cough up a fee to listen as opposed to 12 million who used to because it didn't cost anything?

Arbitron ratings or not, Howard’s new rating standard will have to be the CPM (Cost per million) for running an ad. The only numbers game that matters will be the amount of new subscribers directly attributed to Stern’s presence and the advertising income his show pulls in.

Only this kind of success will prove the deal with Stern was a smart move on behalf of SIRIUS. But, as mentioned earlier: SIRIUS has no intention of divulging that information to the general public so we'll just have to trust their claims.

On thing is assured: the press releases and spin will start flying the day Stern debuts on SIRIUS and we will be inundated with news of his and SIRIUS’ “success” way before we even have proof of it.

But, in life everything is relative - even success.

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