Liberty CEO sees Sirius well positioned in audio boom with exclusive content like Howard Stern

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Howard Stern

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Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei believes the company is well positioned to capitalize on the growing popularity of podcasts and other audio content.

Maffei, who joined CNBC’s David Faber from Liberty’s investor day in New York, said that while there is competition for audio content, exclusive agreements should prove lucrative over time.

“Exclusives are what you want to have. And there are different forms of that,” the CEO said. “We have exclusives obviously in things like Howard Stern. We have exclusives in the fact that if you want to listen to CNBC in the car, we’re the way to do it, ESPN and the like.”

“We have an exclusive with Marvel, we have an exclusive now with Lebron James called ‘Uninterrupted,'” he continued. “Lots of things that are unique just to us.”

Under the leadership of Maffei and Chairman John Malone, Liberty originally acquired a 40% stake in Sirius XM Radio back in 2009, saving the satellite-radio company from bankruptcy. Four years later, Liberty took majority control of Sirius.

“Not only is there upside in listenership and the kinds of content, including podcasts, but they’re under-monetized. I think there’s an opportunity to see increases in how podcasts and other forms of audio content are monetized,” Maffei said.

“Yes, there’s a little bit of a bidding war for audio content, but you can’t spend on audio. A great podcast might be $250,000 a year; an hour of one of these high-end shows could be $10 million,” he added. “The numbers are so far apart and the war is way less.”

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