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RAIN 8/25: For Pandora's first earnings call, Wall St. wants some good news on mobile

Posted on: 08/25/2011


Today at 4pm CT Pandora Media makes its first quarterly earnings report (fiscal Q2 for the three months ending in July) since going public.

Investors and industry observers will be looking for revenue and listening growth for sure, but also increased traction in delivering ads to mobile listeners.

Likely working against Pandora, however, are the impact of mobile-enabled on-demand music subscription service Spotify finally hitting the U.S.; and the volatility of the overall market as fears of a “double-dip” recession loom.

Experts agree that Pandora will likely show both revenue (guesses are coming in at around $60 million) and audience growth. Billboard writes, “As of July 12, Pandora had 36 million active users and 100 million registered users (up from 34 million active and 94 registered on April 30). Listening hours grew to 1.6 billion last quarter, a 129% increase over the prior-year period. That figure needs to be around 1.7 billion or 1.8 billion in fiscal Q2.”

JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth guesses that mobile probably accounted for 66% of total Q2 listening hours on Pandora, up from 62% in Q1 (see RAIN here). However, IDG stats show that mobile gets less than 1% of ad spending in the U.S. Observers, naturally, are keen to learn how much Pandora is earning (via ads) on this mobile listening.

As mobile listening becomes a larger share of Pandora’s audience, they’ll have to monetize that listening. Anmuth says, “It remains early in mobile advertising, and it should not come as a surprise that inventory growth would outpace monetization.” Instead of a worry, he characterizes the low mobile sell-through rates and CPMs as “strong growth opportunities over the next several quarters.”

Read more from MediaPost (here), Billboard (here), Barron’s (here), and Forbes (here)


The 2nd Annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards ceremony will cap off RAIN Summit Chicago (limited space still available, info here) on September 13th. It’s our opportunity to recognize the achievements and the best practices of the Internet radio industry that we cover (you can learn more about the Awards here).

The Best Overall Online Radio Service is perhaps the most prestigious of our four awards (it’s certainly the most encompassing). Broadcasters and pureplay webcasters, commercial and noncomm, music-based or talk, can enter. This award is for the service that provides what’s truly, in the eyes and ears of our judges, the finest overall online listener experience. Judges will take into account the programming, technology, the service’s consumer profile, visual aesthetics, ease of use, operational sustainability, integration of advertising assets (if applicable), and more.

The finalists for 2011’s Best Overall Online Radio Service are:

  • and, the 2010 winner in this category, Pandora

We think you can get an excellent sense of the “state of the art” of Internet radio by visiting any of these sites, and we encourage you to do so (and, make your own “at home” pick for this year’s Best Overall Online Radio Service).

Since Monday, we’ve been announcing the finalists in each of the four award categories (see the finalists for Best Overall Digital Strategy, Best Streaming Broadcast Station, and Best Single-Stream Webcaster).


If you haven’t seen it, here’s the text of Steve Jobs’ letter to the Apple Board of Directors and Apple community announcing his resignation from the company he co-founded.

From The Washington Post: “A volatile visionary, a detail-obsessed taskmaster, a lover of simple, understated design in hardware and in software, Jobs over the past three decades has had an outsize, iconoclastic influence on personal computing — first with the Apple II and then the Macintosh computers, then iPods, and now with post-PC devices such as the iPhone and iPad. No other electronics company in the world introduces products that spur massive lines of fans that snake around malls, sometimes for days.” (Read more here)

We may not be able to accurately gauge the true impact of Jobs’ vision and execution on Internet radio, at least not right away. We can argue the points, but simply consider today’s top story, a publicly-traded Pandora and its aspirations to monetize its mobile listening. Pandora became the undisputed Internet radio leader because of its early and effective adoption of mobile. Without the iPhone, mobile computing, and thus Pandora, look a lot different. For that matter, without the iPod and iTunes, digital music would be a different world. And frankly, we believe we’re just beginning to grasp the effect of the iPad. — PM

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