One of the more interesting and potentially compelling stories to come out of the Pandora Files this year has to do with a difficult topic for those folks – sales.
Obviously, there’s incredible consumer interest in Pandora – especially on mobile devices where listening has surpassed usage on computers. While the radio industry debates whether Pandora is “radio,” the fact is that many consumers from diverse backgrounds enjoy it immensely.
Last week, Edison Research released their version of July audience ratings, based on Pandora's data. According to Edison's calculations, Pandora has an impressive .5 or .6 AQH rating in NYC, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Philly, and D.C.
There are ratings and then there's audience research, and this chart from our recent Techsurvey 7 is proof positive that core radio listeners are turning to Pandora. Our surveys are comprised primawrily of station database members, often P1s to radio. And while perhaps much of this listening may be additive to broadcast radio, time spent is…well, time spent.
Among those who stream, nearly three in ten listen to Pandora weekly. Note how both men and women are turning to this pure-play option, while usage is especially strong among 18-34 year-olds and smartphone owners.
Buzz, usage, momentum, mobile. These are all qualities that are synonymous with Pandora.
So what's the problem?
The missing word is sales. In a story that broke last week, it turns out that even with all these positive arrows, Pandora is having a heap of trouble selling its mobile inventory from which 60% of its overall listening occurs.
Pandora’s CEO, Joe Kennedy, recently admitted that "The sheer level of aggregate advertiser demand for mobile is limited.” So while Pandora is ahead of the game in many fronts – ubiquity, access, and mobile usage – the speed bumps associated with streaming sales (especially mobile) along with rising streaming fees (as the audience grows) creates unique challenges for the new IPO.
If you’re in radio and you’re selling your stream, you can clearly relate to Pandora’s problems. And in tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk how radio might respond strategically to what Pandora is up to. As readers of this blog know very well, we have warned about the Pandora challenge for well more than a year, based on the results and reactions we've measure in our Techsurveys, as well as "Goin' Mobile."
Get ready for a radical idea.