growth

Pandora to issue more stock, warns it can't sustain its rapid growth

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 12:00pm

Leading webcaster (and public company) Pandora plans to sell 10 million more shares of stock as a "follow on" offering, to raise $279 million for "general corporate purposes." The company's biggest investor shareholder, Crosslink Capital, also plans to sell 4 million shares it holds.

And though it says it has nothing in the works, Pandora may use some of the money it raises "for potential acquisitions of businesses, products or technologies."

Within its announcement of the proposed offering, Pandora warned it doesn't "expect to be able to sustain (the) rapid growth in both listener hours and advertising revenue" it has enjoyed in the last few years -- meaning it expects to continue to lose money in the near future. The company continues to battle sound recording and composition copyright owners over royalties (by far its largest expenses, consuming more than half the company's revenue), and faces perhaps its biggest competitive test yet with tomorrow's launch of Apple's iTunes Radio

Read more on this in The Wall Street Journal here, Tom Taylor Now here, and from Pandora 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 listening growth and alliances attract attention from media and critics alike

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 11:00am

Pandora has been enjoying some attention from business and mainstream media lately. The webcaster took the opportunity of the International Consumer Electronic Show last week to show off not only their latest audience numbers, but their growing set of automotive- and consumer electronics-alliances.

[According to Pandora's own reporting of their audience, they now have more than 125 million registered users (which comes down to about 40 million "active" users), who listen for an average of 18 hours each month. The Triton Digital Webcast Metrics report for November (here) credits Pandora with its highest-ever share of measured Internet radio listening, 68%.
 
And for the record, more than 450 different electronics devices, from smartphones to DVD players to Dish Network receivers, now deploy Pandora (several of these were announced at CES, see our coverage here, here, and here). With the new alliances with Kia and Acura, Pandora has deals with 16 automotive brands and 7 aftermarket manufacturers.]
 
Jefferson Graham of USA Today interviewed Pandora founder Tim Westergren (with video, here), who said growth still takes precedence over profitability for Pandora (which has had just a single profitable quarter so far). "The opportunity for us is global," Westergren said. "That's the big vision."
 
That won't come at traditional radio's expense, insists Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman. "Radio is doing very well. It's in every car and most homes. It's embedded in the world. If you want personalized radio, you have to be online, and not everybody can always be online."
 
Currently, Pandora is U.S.-only, because of prohibitive complexities in securing the necessary licensing deals with record labels country-by-country. And Westergren is far from satisfied even with the arrangements here in the U.S., which last year cost the company more than half its gross revenues. "That compares to satellite radio, which pays 7.5% or 8% of gross revenue, and broadcast radio, which is completely exempt from it," he told Fast Company last week (here). 
 
SoundExchange president Michael Huppe told the magazine he finds the comparison unfair. After all, Pandora is focused on growing listening, not profitability, right? "It's a bit disingenuous to simply look at percentage of revenue as a marker that you judge everything by. It's no secret that Pandora's focus over the last five years has not been on generating revenue. They've been trying to work on their product, their brand, and building a huge following. I salute that. But it's not unusual for companies in the early stages to focus on things other than cash flow."
 
Again, you can find the USA Today coverage here; the Fast Company article here.

Popularity of net-connected devices to drive demand for content, says Gartner

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 12:55pm

Gartner logoA new study indicates that consumers worldwide are becoming more willing to spend money for premium online music content -- including subscription-based and (to a lesser degree) ad-supported Internet radio (which Gartner lumps in with subscription-based services in their study).  

As consumer spending on CDs and LPs is expected to slide from $15 billion to about $10 billion 2010-2015, Gartner forecasts end-user revenue for online music sales and services will grow more than 31% over that same time span: from $5.9 billion in 2010 to $7.7 billion in 2015. Subscription services (e.g. Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Pandora) alone will take in $532.1 million this year, growing to $808 million next year. 
Gartner chart
While the more mature "a la carte" download market will still drive the bulk of overall online music revenue (a projected $3.62 billion will be spent on downloaded music this year) through 2015, music subscription services are expected be the main growth sector in this market. Gartner says the music subscripton segment itself will show fivefold growth from 2010 to 2015, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of end-user online music spending by 2015.

"We expect that their (a la carte music download) growth will slow down as more consumers begin to turn to subscription services that are leveraging the popularity of consumer smartphones, media tablets and, in the future, devices such as TVs with Internet connectivity built in," reads a "top line assumption" from the Gartner report. "We include advertising-supported Internet radio services with this class of offerings — for example, Pandora, which offers advertising-supported and monthly subscription options (although our focus is on the end-user spending, rather than on the advertising revenue)."

Read Gartner's press release here; and the report findings here (.pdf file).

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