Sirius XM Q1 results: Small growth for satellite radio operation and mixed performance for Pandora

Sirius XM has released its financials for the first quarter of 2020. The satellite radio and audio company reported revenue of $1.95 billion, up from $1.74 billion in the same period of 2019. Net income totaled $293 million, or 7 cents per share, up from $162 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The company reported that the Sirius XM business added about 69,000 net new self-pay subscribers during the first quarter, yielding nearly 34.8 million total subscribers by the end of the period. Its revenue rose 6% to $1.6 billion thanks to a 2% increase in total Sirius XM subscribers and 3% growth in average revenue per user. Gross profit increased 7% to $992 million.

Pandora saw improvements in advertising revenue, although its gross profit fell. The operation saw a first-quarter high of $241 million in ad revenue, up 4% from the same period of 2019. The growth stemmed from strong traditional audio advertising and the expansion of off-platform efforts and fees generated by AdsWizz. Pandora’s total revenue inched up 1%. However, it saw gross profit down 5%, and two other key metrics also posted declines. Monthly active users numberd 60.9 million compared with 66 million in the year-ago period, and total ad-supported listener hours dropped from 3.42 billion to 3.13 billion.

In a special note, the earnings release noted that Sirius XM is still unsure about the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business. The company said the effects may not be fully reflected in results until later quarters, and it does anticipate a material adverse impact of the outbreak. It has withdrawn its 2020 guidance given the continued uncertainty.

“We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow,” CEO Jim Meyer said. “Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

Meyer also detailed the company’s efforts in curtailing the virus’ spread and maintaining employee health. “In short, we immediately took steps to ensure that our audio entertainment service would be uninterrupted, to provide the best possible customer service, and to continue to operate our business with the level of excellence you have come to expect from SiriusXM,” he said.

Anna Washenko