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Satcaster XM narrows 3Q losses, subs tail off

Company added 415,000 subs in the quarter

Lower costs helped XM Satellite Radio cut its net losses in the third quarter, but subscriber growth flattened compared with the previous quarter.

Satcaster’s revenue grew 23% from the same quarter a year ago to $65.4 million, while its net loss declined 13% to $118 million. The net loss drop came in large part due to a 30% decline in XM’s subscriber acquisition costs.

Company added 415,000 subs in the quarter, bringing its total to more than 2.5 million. That keeps it 1.9 million subs ahead of competitor Sirius but marks substantially lower percentage growth — 19% for XM compared to 41% for Sirius.

XM’s sub adds were 75% higher than a year ago but slightly lower than in the second quarter of this year.

Satcaster signed Major League Baseball to a 10-year, $650 million contract last month and launched new shows with shock jocks Opie and Anthony and former NPR anchor Bob Edwards. The former costs subscribers an additional $1.99 per month — a new strategy for sat radio.

XM ended the quarter with $427 million in cash on hand, giving it about four quarters of survival at its current burn rate unless it raises more cash, as Sirius recently did.

Shares in XM closed down less than 1% Thursday at $33.12.

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