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MLB drives in XM sub count

Listener uptick driven by exclusive baseball content

NEW YORK — XM Satellite Radio reported a narrower quarterly loss as it signed up a record number of subscribers in the second quarter.

XM, the larger of two national satellite radio services, gained a record 647,226 net new subscribers in the second quarter, driven in part by interest in its exclusive broadcast of Major League Baseball, which began in April.

In light of the strong subscriber growth, the satcaster raised its year-end subscriber estimate to 6 million from its previous estimate of 5.5 million.

The satcaster reported a loss on the quarter of $146.6 million, or 70¢ a share, compared with last year’s loss of $166.1 million, or 84¢ a share.

Revenue more than doubled to $125 million from $53 million a year ago.

Washington, D.C.-based XM competes with New York City-based Sirius Satellite Radio, which launched its radio service a year later than XM and has been playing catch-up ever since. Sirius has said it expects to have 2.7 million subscribers by year-end.

Sirius inked a five-year, $500 million deal with Howard Stern, beginning in January.

In addition to its head start in subscribers, XM has an advantage in equipment. Earlier this week, XM announced a deal with Napster to offer a joint service linked to a portable radio made by Samsung Electronics that has a hard drive to store songs.

Sirius hasn’t yet introduced a portable player but is expected to offer one this fall.

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