Pandora Dials Uptick In Users

Pandora in November saw its number of active listeners increase 2% from the prior month to 72.4 million after dipping slightly in October, following the debut of Apple’s iTunes Radio. The number of active listeners was up 16% from a year ago -- below the 20% growth in October, and 25% in September.
 
During the company’s recent third-quarter conference call, Pandora executives noted that the impact of iTunes Radio was felt mainly in the first few weeks after its Sept. 18 rollout as more casual users experimented with the Apple alternative.

However, they said active users began to stabilize and return to more normal levels by the end of October.
 
The number of active listeners in October had slipped 2.6% to 70.9 million. In a research note today, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth suggested that the latest Pandora usage data show the music streaming service has weathered the initial challenge from iTunes Radio and continues to make headway in overall radio share.
 
Pandora said that total listener hours in November grew 18% to 1.49 billion -- in line with the prior two months -- while its share of U.S. radio increased to 8.44% from 8.06% in October.
 
The company last month reported a 50% revenue gain during the third quarter to $181.6 million, driven by a 58% increase in mobile advertising. Pandora is also benefiting from the expansion of its local sales force, now in 29 of the top 40 radio markets. Pandora CFO Mike Herring said in the earnings call that the company plans to continue building out its sales staff “pretty aggressively in the next few months."
 
Pandora shares were up almost 6% in early trading on Wednesday to nearly $30 a share following the release of its November usage metrics.
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