Sirius Radio to offer satellite television service for cars in 2006

Sirius Satellite Radio, No. 2 in the pay-radio business, plans to offer a satellite TV service for cars in the second half of 2006.

The service will use Microsoft’s Windows Media platform and offer several channels of children’s programming. The satellite radio operator said it would also work with Microsoft to further develop video applications. No agreement has been reached with automakers to support the service.

Sirius and XM Satellite Radio Holdings, the largest pay-radio company, are vying to win customers with exclusive programming, and by including receivers in cars. Neither company has had a quarterly profit. They need at least 40 million subscribers to succeed, John LaForge, a fund manager at FA Asset Management in Sarasota, FL, told Bloomberg News.

Sirius said it was creating the service amid demand from automakers, which are including TV screens in the back seat of models designed for families.

Ford Motor, DaimlerChrysler and BMW already offer Sirius’ receivers as a factory option. Those companies have shown a tremendous amount of preliminary interest in the video product, said a Sirius spokesman, Jim Collins. The company plans two to three channels, which might feature cartoons and music videos.

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