In the first quarter of 2012, the company reported total revenue of $897.4 million, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Its net subscriber numbers were up by 304,000. However, the company missed estimates, which indicated that it would generate $1.05 billion for the entire year.
As of March 31, 2012, the number of XM terrestrial repeaters had been reduced from the more than 1,000 that it had when the service launched in 2001. For those who do not know, XM is one of two major satellite radio services in North America.
There are three satellites that broadcast XM"s programming. These satellites are located in geostationary orbit above the equator. One of the satellites, XM-1 ("Roll"), is located at 85 deg west longitude, while the other two, XM-2 ("Rock") and XM-3 ("Rhythm") are located at 85 and 115 deg west longitude, respectively.
Aside from the satellite, XM has ground transmitters that supplement the signal in urban areas. This gives the receivers on the ground the ability to decode the signals from the satellites. The ground transmitters are able to receive the signals from the satellites in a CD quality format. Therefore, the receivers don"t lose the quality of the music content.
XM operates its own satellites, which have more than 170 digital audio channels. They include 69 commercial-free music channels, 30 sports and variety channels, and 20 traffic and weather channels. Additionally, XM has 30 news and talk channels.
XM uses a technology called Neural Audio processors. During the pre-processing process, the audio content is encoded into high bit rate data formats. On its way to broadcast, the music is further processed by the processors. With Neural Audio, XM is able to preserve the song"s quality.
XM"s satellite program is encrypted with an electronic serial number. XM also issued a convertible bond to General Motors for $300 million. After a re-capitalization plan was implemented in January 2003, XM restructured its payment obligations on its installation agreement with GM. Among other things, XM restructured its revolving credit facility with GM.
Before XM, AMSC was a consortium of organizations dedicated to satellite broadcasting of data signals and fax. It was established in 1988. When XM was formed in 1999, AMSC spun off its satellite division.
XM is currently under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. XM received complaints from many consumers about low quality customer service and a lack of security. However, these complaints have not been resolved.
Currently, XM is developing a new holding company to improve its financial flexibility and leverage. According to the company, it plans to add 1.6 million net subscribers in the coming year. It hopes to reach a leverage target of 3.5 times EBITDA.