Sirius XM Canada
|Headquarters||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Key people||John Bitove (Chairman)
Mark Redmond (CEO)
|Owner(s)||Sirius XM Canada Holdings Inc. (TSX: XSR)
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Sirius XM Radio
Sirius XM Canada is a Canadian radio broadcasting company, which operates as a Canadian affiliate of Sirius XM Radio. The company received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on April 11, 2011 to merge the formerly distinct XM Radio Canada and Sirius Canada services,1 following the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio in the United States. The merger was subsequently completed as of June 21, 2011.2
John Bitove's Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the licensee of the former XM Radio Canada, holds 30.3% and effective control of the new company. Slaight Communications and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the primary shareholders in the former Sirius, each hold 20.4%, and the American parent Sirius XM holds 25%.1 Both Bitove and Mark Redmond, the former president and CEO of Sirius Canada, hold executive roles with the new company.3
In their application to the CRTC, XM Canada and Sirius Canada noted that following the merger of Sirius and XM in the United States, they found it increasingly difficult to remain in operation as distinct, competing services in Canada even as the parent services increasingly integrated and amalgamated their programming.1 In an interview with The Globe and Mail before the merger was approved, Bitove also noted the difficulties that arose from the merged American service becoming a minority shareholder in both of the Canadian companies simultaneously, such as conflicts of interest that forced the American company to leave its Canadian partners out of strategic planning discussions which would have given each company power over decisions affecting the other.4
Further complicating matters was that Sirius Canada had far more than half of the total satellite radio subscriber base in Canada, and felt they deserved greater than a 50/50 split of the new company, whereas XM Canada felt that their deal with the National Hockey League — a particularly lucrative prize in Canadian sports broadcasting — warranted a larger share of value in the new company than its subscriber base would suggest.5
On November 24, 2010, XM Radio Canada and Sirius Canada announced that they had reached a deal to merge their services.6
As of 2011, Sirius and XM in the United States now offer nearly identical programming lineups, with the Canadian-produced channels being among the few remaining distinctions between the two services.
On October 1, 2012, Premier packages became available in Canada.
At present, the two companies produce several similar channels which would be redundant from a single provider — for example, Sirius offers CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 3, Première Chaîne, L'Oasis francophone and Latitude franco, which are paralleled by XM's Canada 360, The Verge, Quoi de Neuf, Sur La Route and Air Musique. However, both also offer services which are not currently duplicated on the other platform, such as Sirius' Bande à part, a French-language counterpart to CBC Radio 3 or The Verge, and XM's Laugh Attack, a Canadian comedy channel. The new company has not yet confirmed its plans for unifying its service lineups.
The company is expected to have some interoperable radio models, which can receive both Sirius and XM signals, available for sale by the 2011 Christmas shopping season. However, existing Sirius or XM radios will continue to work with the appropriate service.2
In the merger application, Sirius XM noted an intention to provide a new programming service for First Nations audiences, who are not currently served by dedicated channels on either of the existing services.2 Voices Radio, a channel which airs a mainstream rock music format programmed in conjunction with the Aboriginal Voices radio network, was launched in September 2011, replacing Radio Parallèle on the XM platform and The Score Satellite Radio on Sirius.
- CRTC Decision 2011-240.
- "Sirius Canada and XM Canada Complete Merger". Broadcaster, June 21, 2011.
- "CRTC Approves XM Canada & Sirius Canada Merger". Marketnews, April 12, 2011.
- "XM, Sirius move closer to merger in Canada". The Globe and Mail, February 17, 2011.
- Etan Vlessing, "XM-Sirius merger not replicated in Canada". Hollywood Reporter, July 29, 2008.
- "Finally, Sirius Canada and XM Canada are merging". Radio-Info.com. November 24, 2010.