Pandora Teams With Strata, Mediaocean To Simplify Ad-Buying

Online radio service Pandora confirmed Tuesday that it will integrate its audience data into the Strata and Mediaocean media-buying platforms. The move will allow advertisers to compare Pandora’s audience ratings side-by-side with terrestrial radio stations nationwide.

That in turn could bolster Pandora’s ad sales by making it easier for agencies and marketers to plan, buy and process digital radio advertising. Until now, radio ad buyers using Strata and Mediaocean had to manually research Pandora’s audience data.

The two ad systems will now import Pandora’s local and national ratings information from Triton Digital into their software platforms. Without mentioning Strata or Mediaocean specifically, Pandora CEO Joseph Kennedy discussed how the integrations would benefit the company, while speaking last month at an industry conference.

“One -- it makes it immediately evident, in comparable terms, the size of the Pandora audience opportunity that we can bring to an advertiser, and second -- it makes Pandora as easy to buy as those FM stations,” he said.

Kennedy added that the company’s sales force would still have to work closely with each client, “but it is a fundamental enabler for our further entry into the radio ad markets.”

Pandora reported having an 8.03% share of the total U.S. listening audience in January, up from 5.55% in the year-earlier period. Active listeners reached 65.6 million, up 38% from 47.6 million a year ago. And listener hours were 1.39 billion, a 47% increase from 952 million.

For its third quarter ended Oct. 31, the company posted a profit of $2.1 million -- or a penny a share -- up from $638,000, or break-even, a year ago. Revenue increased 60% to $120. But Pandora in December saw its share price fall steeply when it warned of slower revenue growth in its fourth quarter, ending Jan. 31. It reports Q4 earnings on Thursday.

Mediaocean CEO Bill Wise suggested the alliance with Pandora would release pent-up demand from buyers. “Mediaocean’s clients -- the major holding companies and independents in North America and Europe who use our systems to manage over $100 billion in media spend a year -- have long expressed a desire to spend far more heavily in digital radio generally, and Pandora specifically,” he said in a statement.

Mediacocean was formed last year through the merger of Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank. Pandora said the Strata integration was completed in January, while that with Mediaocean is currently in beta testing, with the full-scale rollout scheduled for the end of April.

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