Sirius XM CEO says holiday sales on target

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Holiday sales of Sirius XM Radio’s satellite radio players are so far matching expectations, helped in part by an advertising blitz featuring footage of Elvis Presley and Michael Jordan.

Sirius XM Chief Executive Mel Karmazin told Reuters that early retail store checks indicated that sales “were very much on target to what we anticipated” since the U.S. holiday shopping season unofficially kicked off on Friday.

Karmazin partly credited the company’s new ad campaign with drawing consumers, since “we didn’t have any new revolutionary products out.”

He declined to say how much Sirius XM spent on the advertisements -- set to Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” and showing footage of the rock icon as well as Michael Jordan, Richard Pryor and Howard Stern. Karmazin would only say the campaign cost “a lot of millions of dollars.”

After a drawn out merger deal that combined XM and Sirius, but perhaps raised questions about the company’s future in the minds of consumers, “we thought it was really important to put a bunch of money behind the brand,” Karmazin said.

“We are in the midst of one of the most dramatic year-over-year improvements that I’ve ever seen in media.”

Karmazin said that devices sold over recent days might not immediately show up as new subscriptions.

“What someone will do is buy it, not necessarily activate it. Our activations will take place all the way until the time someone gets it under the tree, finds the new radio and activates it themselves,” he said.

Reporting by Franklin Paul and Paul Thomasch, editing by Tiffany Wu and Gerald E. McCormick