The Motley Fool Previous Page

Are Pandora Media Inc's Moves Futile Due to Competition From Apple Inc?

Mukesh Baghel
June 5, 2014

There wasn't much good news for Internet radio company Pandora Media's (NYSE: P) investors when it reported its first-quarter results. Although Pandora's net loss narrowed from the year-ago period and the company outperformed expectations, a weak outlook and a sequential drop in active listeners sent the stock crashing. As competition from other streaming services such as Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes Radio and Spotify is increasing, a weak outlook was the last thing that Pandora investors would have wanted.

However, there were a few positive takeaways as well. Will Pandora be able to come out of this slump?

The positives
Pandora's advertising business jumped 45%, year over year, to $141 million in the first quarter. Its subscription revenue came in at $39.5 million, an increase of 94% from the prior-year period. Average active listeners grew 8%, year over year, to 75.3 million during the quarter, covering almost a quarter of the U.S population. In addition, listener hours jumped 12% from last year to 4.8 billion in the quarter.

Its overall revenue rose 69% over last year and the adjusted loss dropped to $0.13 a share from $0.18 per share last year. Pandora had a number of positives, but a weak outlook led to a big sell-off. Looking ahead, Pandora expects the number of active listeners to grow once again in the remaining quarters of the year. The company is undertaking a number of moves to get better in the future.

Trying to get better
Pandora is engaged in various strategic initiatives such as increasing user engagement and accelerating monetization that should drive its growth in the coming years. Also, it is focused on offering more features to users such as an alarm clock, sleep timer, and station recommendations. These moves are already helping the company's growth, as listeners using its alarm clock functionality on Android are listening to Pandora an average of 30% more days per week. 

In March, Pandora witnessed 25 million active listeners every weekday for the first time ever. Moreover, management says that these listeners are now using Pandora for record lengths of time, consuming an average of 21.9 hours per active user in March.

Pandora is also strengthening its marketing and sales teams to increase its penetration. It has been conducting various marketing events like the one at Discovery Den, where it showcased nearly 37 live acts over four days. It also hosted a series of liv