Sirius Satellite Posts Loss

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (search) on Wednesday said it posted a wider loss for the third quarter from a year earlier, as higher expenses — particularly for National Football League (search) programming — more than offset a surge in revenue.  

The company, which recently signed a five-year, $500 million programming deal with "shock jock" Howard Stern (search) that begins in 2006, said it remains on track to reach 1 million subscribers by year-end.

New York-based Sirius had a loss of $169.4 million, or 14 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with a loss of $106.7 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected a loss of 12 cents a share for the latest quarter.

Sirius ended the third quarter with 662,289 subscribers. It added 181,948 subscribers in the quarter, a 41 percent increase from the second quarter, quadrupling from the third quarter of 2003.

The company remains on track to reach one million subscribers by the end of the year, it said.

Revenue for the quarter more than quadrupled to $19.1 million from $4.3 million a year ago.

Earlier this month, Ford Motor Co. said it would offer factory-installed satellite radios from Sirius in up to 20 vehicle lines over the next two years, up from the current nine.

Stern, who battled for years with the FCC and conservative critics over his salacious show's content, is moving his show to Sirius when his contract with Viacom Inc.'s Infinity Broadcasting Corp. expires in 2006.

Stern's show was dropped by media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications in April after the FCC proposed a $495,000 fine against it for comments made by Stern.

Shares of Sirius fell 13 cents, or 3.2 percent, to close Wednesday at $3.89 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has risen from around $2 since the middle of August.