SIRIUS XM, the near fully merged satellite radio company, has announced a combined channel lineup. Thursday morning, SIRIUS XM announced a combined lineup where XM subscribers had some of the most popular SIRIUS channels, and SIRIUS subscribers now have XM channels, all included in the base subscriber package. This is different than the offer SIRIUS and XM offered subscribers a few months ago, the "Best Of" packages, which included a handful of popular channels from the once competing alternative for a few more dollars per month.
SIRIUS subscribers have a base channel lineup of around 137 channels, and XM subscribers have near 242 (note that XM has several more generic sport channels which help make the difference). Several channels were swapped, name changed, and some even removed. As an XM customer, I noticed Thursday morning on my drive to work that something was amiss when a few station names changed (though the content was exactly the same), one station removed, and a techno/house station changed to a talk radio channel.
With the now mostly merged channel lineup, one has to wonder how long until the separated XM and SIRIUS subscriptions will merge under one roof. Keeping the two separated could lead to be a double edged sword. On one side, consumers have a little more choice in hardware and slightly different channel lineups. However, consumers may become confused when looking into buying into a satellite radio when SIRIUS lists channels such as XM Sports Play-By-Play, and XM lists SIRIUS XMU. With recent reports of $5 billion lost in the third quarter, which may have a lot to do with pushing through the merger, SIRIUS XM needs to settle on a lineup and channel add-ons so we won"t have to keep guessing if our channels will be on or changed when we wake up in the morning.