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PANDORA TOPS 5M PAID SUBSCRIBERS

Six weeks ago, Roger Lynch took over as president and CEO of Pandora and today he was able to announce the internet radio company had posted an 8% increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2017 and a 29% rise in paid subscribers.

The company now has 5.19m paid subscribers, up from 4.01m in the third quarter of 2016. Subscription and other revenue was $84.4 million, a 50% year-over-year increase. Pandora Premium surpassed 1m last month; the service now has 73.7m active listeners.

Total consolidated revenue was $378.6m, an 8% year-over-year increase while advertising revenue was up a tick to $275.7m.

“We had a solid financial quarter with revenue above our mid-point and adjusted EBITDA coming in very close to the high end of our guidance,” said Naveen Chopra, CFO of Pandora." The growth we experienced in RPMs and subscription revenue indicates that our multi-tier service strategy can continue to enhance monetization in multiple listening modes. We also completed the investment by Sirius XM and the sale of Ticketfly in the quarter, strengthening our balance sheet and bringing cash and short-term investments to nearly $500 million."

In a conference call, Lynch identified three key challenges: the user base has declined in recent quarters; ad revenue has not grown as much as the company would like; and shareholders returns have been poor.

“Simply stated, I want us to execute simultaneously against two macro goals: First, it is essential that we stabilize and then grow our base of listeners,” he said. “Secondly, we need to hold onto and build on our status as a best-in-class publisher of targeted digital advertising, which means a significant upgrade to our advertising technology and the capabilities we can offer advertisers.”

In 2018, he said the company will expand its podcast, spoken word and traditional radio offerings and will increase partnerships with device companies; they’re currently working on a deeper integration into Comcast's X1 experience.

The company is also investing in solutions to ad tech gaps to remove inefficiencies and create new revenue opportunities.

“If we’re successful with these investments, and combine new technology with the existing data science capabilities,” he said, “I believe we can intelligently raise ad load, increase sell-through, command premium pricing, and ultimately drive faster revenue growth . . . all while protecting the listener experience.”

For the third quarter of 2017, the company ended with $499.4m in cash and investments, compared to $227.6m at the end of the prior quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $5.3 million, compared to a loss of $6.6 million in the same quarter last year.

The company noted that listeners tune in an average of 23 hours per month and that total listener hours were down to 5.15b for the third quarter compared to 5.4b the prior year.

“After just a short time here at Pandora, it’s clear to me we have a tremendous opportunity to meet the full spectrum of our listeners' and advertisers’ needs,” said Lynch. “We have significant scale, distribution and products that deliver a superior listening experience. We will leverage these strengths to become a more integral part of our listeners’ lives and reinforce our position as the definitive source for audio advertising.”

For more Pandora news, go here.

 

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