Pandora audience continues to rebound, slowly, since mobile listening cap

Friday, June 7, 2013 - 10:50am

Leading webcaster Pandora streamed 1.35 billion hours of content in May, which is 22% higher than May 2012 (1.1 billion hours) and up a bit from the 1.31 billion hours it streamed in April of this year. However, that's still down from the 1.5 billion hours Pandora streamed in March, before it capped free mobile listening at 40 hours/month as a cost-reduction measure.

Pandora says as of May's end, it had 70.8 million "active listeners," a 33% increase from its 53.3 million in May 2012, and a slight uptick from April 2013's 70.1 million. The webcaster says its share of total U.S. radio listening in May 2013 was 7.29%, down slightly from the previous month's reported 7.33%, but a healthy increase from the 5.80% it reported in May of last year.

RAIN reported Pandora's April listening figures here. Pandora's press release with May's numbers is here.

Leading webcaster's total mobile revs nearly double in quarter ending in April

Friday, May 24, 2013 - 1:20pm

Late yesterday afternoon Pandora reported on its finances and audience levels for the first quarter of its 2014 fiscal year (which ended April 30).

The leading webcaster's total revenue for the period of $125.5 million represents 55% growth since a year ago ($105 million came from ads, $20 million from subscriptions). Total listener hours grew 35% to 4.18 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared to 3.09 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2013.

Despite record revenues and audience, the company ended up losing nearly $29 million during the quarter.

"Content acquistion costs" (i.e. royalties for licensing music) grew 48% from $56 million a year ago to $83 million in this period. This means these costs amounted to 66% of Pandora's revenue that quarter.

Total mobile revenue was nearly $84 million -- nearly double year-over-year -- and outpacing growth of its mobile audience (which grew 47%).

Pandora added more than 700-thousand new subscribers to its ad-free Pandora One service in the first quarter, up 114% to more than two-and-a-half million (and more net new subscribers in the quarter than in all of fiscal 2013, which means Pandora has the largest U.S. streaming subscription audience of any music service).

Pandora says it now regularly reaches 70.1 million active users (up 35% from a year ago), and accounted (in April) for 7.33% of total U.S. radio listening.

This month's Brussels Summit event to include special presentation on best uses of social media for radio

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 12:10pm

There's (literally) a world of competition online, and RAIN Summit attendees are always looking for strategies to increase their service's share of the online audience. Several of Europe's leading online and broadcast radio experts will take up this very topice at RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 (that's in two weeks!) at Brussels' Hotel Bloom.

The "Growing Your Online Audience" panel will cover topics from simulcasting on-air content, customized online radio, and on-demand streaming.

Radionomy's Alexandre Saboundjian (left) and 7digital's Ben Drury (right) are both CEO of their respective companies, and will take part in the discussion. Calling itself "The Radio Experience," Radionomy provides a tech platform for amateurs and professionals to create their own online radio stations for free (the company even covers music licensing). When a station's audience reaches certain levels, Radionomy then shares advertising revenue with the station creater. Apparently a busy guy, Saboundjian also heads (and founded) MusicMatic (an in-store media company), and Jamendo (which is a platform for royalty-free music).

Ben Drury co-founded 7digital, a UK-based digital media company, which sells music downloads to consumers, but also provides branded products for traditional media companies, consumer brands, and social networking services. Some examples are powering Samsung's Music Hub, and the music store for Songbird. He also founded, later acquired by Yahoo.

Kjartan Slette (at left, he's head of music at WiMP) and Steve Whilton (director of product at, right) are both tasked with crafting a product that ensures audience growth. WiMP is an on-demand music streaming service with a library of 18 million tracks (and growing). Based in Oslo, the service employs local editors in the countries in which it's available (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland and in the Netherlands) to help ensure it meets the demands of these different markets., founded in the UK in 2002, is known for its music recommendation "scrobbling" system that integrates with other services, and for its online radio service and social networking features.

KISS FM and rs2 general manager Christian Schalt (left) is the panel's representative of the broadcast world. He's based in Berlin, from where KISS FM has been broadcasting nationwide as part of the Germany's DAB digital radio system. He's a career broadcaster with experience at Planet Radio in Frankfurt and Energy in Vienna. He was also Program Director for Kronehit, Austria's only national commercial radio station.

"Growing Your Online Audience" will be moderated by VP/Europe for RCS Sound Software, Sven Andræ. Sven's also experienced in broadcast radio, and later joined RCS to launch its Scandinavian division. RCS, of course, is the well-known (and largest) broadcast software company, with products at over 10-thousand stations worldwide. It's known for its music and promo scheduling, digital playout, automation control, and traffic and sales management software (Sven's pictured right).

The RAIN Summit Europe agenda also includes five "feature presentations" (that's not including Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry"). One will be "The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Branding," to present tactics for online radio to better encourage discussion among, and connection with, listeners.

Our social media expert making this presentation is Paula Cordeiro of Lisbon. She's the radio ombusdperson for Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), Portugal's public service broadcaster. A visionary of radio's future, she also coordinates the Radio Hub, which is a project for training, research, and radio production at the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (where she lectures on radio and digital media).

This year's RAIN Summit Europe promises to top even last year's inaugural Berlin event. Space is still available for this year's event. All the details, including registration links, are on the RAIN Summit Europe page here.

eMarketer: Association with music, in-stream audio ads make Net radio appealing to ad buyers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 1:05pm

A forecast from a new eMarketer report, "Internet Radio: Marketers Move In," has the U.S. Internet radio audience growing 11.1% to 147.3 million this year. "Expansion will continue for the next several years, though rates will taper off to single-digit percentages," says eMarketer.

During that time, eMarketer expects U.S. Internet radio ad revenues to hit $970 million, then grow to $1.31 billion by 2016 (this includes all streaming, website, text, e-mail, and mobile advertising, and advertising on HD Radio). The news source points out that while positive, these growth forecasts are more modest than those for other digital media.

"Still, advertisers are eager to attach their brands to internet broadcasting and other music-streaming properties. There are several reasons for this, among them: the appeal of associating a brand with a particular genre or artist; the extent to which internet radio is driven primarily by ads; and the appeal of in-steam audio ads, which are harder to avoid or skip than other forms of digital advertising," reads the eMarketer press release.

See more, including a link to purchase the report, here.

Pandora's share of U.S. radio audience tops 7%

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 12:20pm

In addition to 3Q13 financials (here), Pandora announced its self-reported November 2012 listening metrics, and says its share of total U.S. radio listening in November 2012 was 7.09%. It's October share was as high as 6.75%.

[You can see the latest third-party Webcast Metrics figures, for October, here.]

Pandora streamed 1.27 billion listening hours last month, which is 58% higher than November 2011; and slightly higher than October 2012's 1.25 billion hours (Don't forget, November has just 30 days, and that includes Veteran's Day, U.S. Thanksgiving, and the federal election.).

Pandora's "active listeners" increased 45% from November 2011, to 62.4 million.

See our coverage of Pandora's October listening here.

Traditional summer slowdown hampers audience growth, but not as much as past years

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 11:00am

Metrics rankingsAs in years past, the "summer doldrums" took their toll on webcasters' audiences in July. Minus one exception, all the webcasters and broadcasters tracked in Triton Digital's Top 20 Webcast Metrics for July 2012 were flat or down month-to-month. 

The Internet radio industry typically sees audience numbers flat-line or drop slightly in the summer months. Listeners spend relatively less time in the office -- where, at least in the past, a majority of Internet radio usage took place -- due to holidays (like the Fourth of July), vacations, and other activities (like the Summer Olympics which began on July 27 and, this reporter seems to think, were a huge drain on productivity). We refer to this traditional decline as "summer doldrums." 

All told, the combined AAS (Average Active Sessions, essentially equivalent to AQH) of the Top 20 webcasters declined a little over 1% month-to-month. That's actually an improvement over 2011, when webcasters' combined AAS dropped nearly 7% from June to July 2011. Could this be in part due to Internet radio's growing mobile and out-of-office listening

Top-ranked Pandora was roughly flat month-to-month in July, according to Triton's Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. The webcaster stands at an AAS of 1,214,119 -- up 151% year-over-year.

The #2-ranked Clear Channel, backed by its iHeartRadio platform, declined 4% month-to-month to reach an AAS of 174,333. Clear Channel's AAS has grown 140% year-over-year.

The race for the #3 spot became more heated in July: CBS Radio, currently holding the #3 spot, declined 12% month-to-month. Slacker (at #4) dropped 6% month-to-month but is now within nearly 300 AAS of overtaking CBS Radio. Slacker has grown 60% year-over-year while CBS Radio has dropped 45%. The change is in part due to AOL Radio's migration from CBS to Slacker.

The one exception to all this declining and flat-lining is NPR Member Services, ranked at #11. Its AAS, as measured by Triton, increased 37% month-to-month. June was the first month NPR Member Services appeared in the Top 20 ranker.

ESPN Radio saw the largest month-to-month decline with a 14% drop (though Radio One and Hubbard weren't far behind with 13% declines). Most others saw month-to-month drops of 3-9%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through July 2012. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)

You can find the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m ranking below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of June 2012’s ratings here.

July Webcast Metrics

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