Sirius XM takes over former Disney + director as new chief product and technology officer – TechCrunch
Sirius XM, home to the satellite radio business and the streaming music app Pandora, has a new product and technology manager, as the company plans to expand its reach beyond car to better compete with its streaming competitors, such as Spotify. The company this morning announced the hiring of former MLB and Disney chief executive Joseph Inzerillo as the new chief product and technology officer. He will take up his new duties on January 10, 2022.
Jim Cady, Chief Innovation Officer of Sirius XM, who served as Acting Director of Product Development, will retire after eight years with the company. He will work with Inzerillo until February 2022 during the transition.
Prior to joining the audio entertainment company, Inzerillo was executive vice president and chief technology officer for Disney’s streaming arm, where he helped oversee all aspects of that business including streaming, commerce, development. platform and globalization plans for Disney +, ESPN +. Star + and Hulu. Inzerillo first joined Disney in 2017 with the acquisition of BAMTech Media, where he served as executive vice president and chief technology officer.
Previously, Inzerillo had served as CTO for Major League Baseball, including its flagship media companies MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network. In this role, he launched MLB.tv, the first over-the-top sports offering, ‘instant replay’, wireless connectivity in all 30 stadiums, and shaped MLB’s digital business. This ultimately led to the spin-off of his streaming technology platform, BAMTech Media, which he helped found.
While not necessarily known, the BAMTech platform has propelled big names in streaming including HBO Now, WWE Network, Eurosport Player, Fox Sports, and the NHL.
At Sirius XM, the executive will be responsible for helping oversee the information technology and broadcast infrastructure of the business and the team that builds and operates these platforms. In total, he will lead a team of over 1,500 engineers and product professionals on Sirius XM, Pandora and Stitcher. He will also be responsible for Sirius XM’s product roadmap, satellite infrastructure, overall technology vision and innovation, and will report directly to Sirius XM CEO Jennifer Witz.
The rental is a big win for Sirius XM which struggles to compete with Spotify and others in terms of consumer interest. Although the company delivered its last profits, its stock has lost 3% of its value over the past five years compared to a 120% gain for Spotify during the same period, for example. In its final quarter, Sirius XM recorded 9% year-over-year revenue growth to $ 2.2 billion in the third quarter and a net record 616,000 new Sirius XM auto subscribers -paid for its satellite radio activities. At the end of the third quarter, Sirius XM had 34.1 million subscribers in total, up from 34.3 million in the same quarter last year, but predicted that in the fourth quarter this year would be its strongest growth ever. ‘subscribers since 2018.
Yet much of Sirius XM’s business relies on partnerships and pre-installs with automakers, and is aimed at a workforce that spends a lot of time getting to and from the office. The pandemic has reshaped the way people work – now often from home – and cars come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrations that make it easy for customers to use their own favorite streaming apps. Combined, these factors could make satellite radio more difficult to sell in the long run, as its cross-platform experience – especially on the mobile app side – is somewhat lacking.
The company’s $ 3.5 billion acquisition of Pandora in 2018 didn’t go very well either. The streaming app continues to lose ground with consumers, falling to 52.6 million monthly active users in the third quarter, from 55.1 million in the second quarter and 58.6 million a year ago. Meanwhile, Sirius XM has invested in podcasting with its acquisition of Stitcher for $ 325 million and another for Simplecast for analytics and distribution tools. And he’s pursued other initiatives to try to connect with consumers, like Pandora’s new SoundCloud station and its TikTok partnership.
Hiring Inzerillo could shake things up within the company, allowing it to better capitalize on the products and services it offers.
“I’ve been a longtime listener and huge fan of SiriusXM, and couldn’t be more excited to join this team,” Inzerillo said in a statement. “Streaming and over-the-top offerings have revolutionized the entertainment industry – and audio is no exception. This opportunity is the culmination of all my professional experiences over the past 30 years, and one that I just couldn’t pass up. From the moment I took on the job, my mind has been racing with ideas on how we can extend digital capabilities across SiriusXM’s business. Together, our team will develop a product and technology roadmap that will further differentiate SiriusXM and bring new creative entertainment options to consumers at scale. “
CEO Jennifer Witz also praised Inzerillo’s 30 years of experience in digital media and hinted at upcoming product changes in a memo, noting:
With Joe’s extensive experience building and leading innovative digital platforms, I have no doubts that he will play a pivotal role in the development and evolution of our growth strategies across our product line. As a longtime auditor, Joe looks forward to joining us and working collaboratively with all of the top talent we have in our business. His enthusiasm for our products and what the future holds is energizing, and I look forward to everything we accomplish under Joe’s leadership of this expanded product and technology organization.