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RAIN 8/26: Pandora surprises Wall St. with higher-than-expected Q2 revenue, listening

Posted on: 08/26/2011

PANDORA NOW CLAIMS 3.6% OF TOTAL U.S. RADIO LISTENING

Yesterday’s late-afternoon earnings report was a pleasant surprise for Pandora investors, with the webcaster setting new high marks in both revenue and listening growth.

While optimistic observers were looking for revenue of about $60-61 million and 1.7 billion listening hours for the quarter (see our coverage yesterday), Pandora actually more than doubled revenue, pulling in $67 million (up 117% year over year) and streaming a record total listener hours of 1.8 billion (125% growth year over year) for the three months ending in July.

By Pandora’s own reckoning, its listening now represents a 3.6% share of total U.S. radio listening.

In the earnings conference call, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy remarked, “Pandora continues to grow our market share of U.S. radio as we fundamentally transform one of the last forms of traditional media.”

Wall Street also wanted to see Pandora monetizing its mobile audience. Seventy-percent of Pandora listening now takes place via mobile devices, and Pandora revealed that just about half of its Q2 ad revenue of $58.3 million came from ads delivered to mobile phones and tablets like the iPad.

The company reported an overall loss for the quarter of $1.8 million — a net 4 cents/share loss. Pretty much half of its total revenue ($33.7 million) went to pay music royalties.

A summary of Pandora’s earnings report is here. Read Pandora’s 8-K filing with the SEC here. Read additional coverage from Radio-Info here and Digital Music News here.

INTERNET RADIO AND THE DEATH OF THE HP TOUCHPAD

Were you one of the fortunate/smart ones to score a $99 (or $149) HP TouchPad? (After last week’s announcement from HP that it was abandoning the WebOS platform, which you can read about in RAIN here, the newly-introduced tablets went for clearance prices.) If so, good move! There’s still lots of ways to enjoy it.

“Even though the TouchPad’s webOS may never see another product, the TouchPad is still a powerful, flexible tablet,” writes PCMag.com. And at the price of an Amazon Kindle! Anyway, PCMag put together a list of ten great things to do with the TouchPad (read them all here), and wouldn’t you know it, turns out it makes a great Internet radio interface. (By the way, it’s way too small to make out in the photo, but that icon in the upper-left of the TouchPad desktop is for the AccuRadio app.)

From PCMag.com: “My kitchen chores require radio. Fortunately, with the TouchPad, there’s a wealth of choices. You can download Pandora for custom music, iHeartRadio for mainstream music and talk stations, or TuneIn Radio for local radio stations in your city.”

The demise of WebOS inspired another list-of-ten, this one from PCWorld, “10 of the Shortest-Lived Tech Products,” here.

Besides the TouchPad, and among perennials of such lists like the Sony eVilla and the Palm Foleo is one of our all-time favorites: the Kerbango Internet Radio (2000-2001 — it died before it even shipped!). It was a $300 desktop Internet radio, made for broadband yet born in an age of dial-up. 3Com bought the technology, and as PCWorld writes, “HP eventually bought 3Com, and if you try to go to Kerbango.com today you end up at HP’s homepage — which poignantly links the Kerbango radio to the TouchPad.”

IPAD MUSIC APPS TEND TO BE MOREENGAGING

Speaking of tablets and music apps, a recent study by research firm Localytics on “user engagement” of various types of iPad apps reveals news and games apps at the top of the heap (see GigaOm here) — followed by music apps (as Digital Music News points out).

Users tended to spend the longest time with news apps (longest average session length), but music apps were a close-second. IPad users spent 228% more time with music apps compared to the average time spent in any app (other app categories include health, reference, lifestyle, business, sports, and entertainment).

Gaming apps, however, accounted for the highest number of sessions per month, while news and music apps tied for a more-distant second place, both averaging just five sessions per month.

Digital Music News analyzed these results. “What does this mean to advertisers? Longer sessions mean people are more engaged, but probably not glued. The reason is that music is something that can easily be tuned out… that tune-out can be expensive, and apps like Pandora require a check-in to avoid endless streaming. But it can also be a problem for advertisers that want more attention, especially on the visual side.”

Read more from Digital Music News here.



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