SiriusXM will introduce a suite of very interactive features to its Internet radio offering later this year, they announced yesterday. The new offering looks to be designed specifically to compete with offerings by Pandora. Other platforms, such as iHeartradio, have been moving in a similar direction as well, creating personalizable channels and interactive features.
The features sketched out by SiriusXM are extensive in terms of their interactivity – listeners can go back up to 5 hours to select programming, pause their listening and pick up where they left off, replay or skip a song, and organize their listening on a single screen. In addition, Tune Start™ will automatically start the currently playing song from the beginning so listeners will hear the whole song when tuning to any music channel. These features will be available on their Internet Radio App update for Android smartphones and tablets starting later this year.
The new personalized radio stations will not have commercials, and will be available to SiriusXM subscribers who have streaming included in their listening plans. Pandora’s Pandora One service offers listeners the chance to pay a monthly fee for ad-free listening.
SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin’s comments on these new features tried to make light of the emphasis the satellite radio company is placing on competing with other online stations like Pandora. But these new features are innovative and sure look like an attempt to shift some of their listeners over to online listening – perhaps before they shift away from SiriusXM altogether. The rapid adoption of smartphones and spike in mobile streaming have no doubt caught the eye of the execs who understand that that’s a real threat to their listener base.