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Pandora’s Q1 Ad Revenue Up 45%, But Pressures To Engage Users Are Rising

PandoraInternet radio service Pandora reported Thursday a 69% year-over-year increase in Q1 revenue to $194.3 million. Advertising revenue rose 45% year over year to $140.6 million. Subscriptions and other revenue were up 94% at $39.5 million compared to the prior year.

Mobile advertising RPMs (ad revenue per 1000 ad-supported listener hours) reached $29.46 in Q1 this year in a 44% increase from the same quarter last year.

Despite this uptick in mobile, CEO Brian McAndrews said Pandora doesn’t have immediate plans to integrate programmatic mobile capabilities into its offerings, adding he “sees an opportunity in programmatic display” but the space is still “in its early days.”

Pandora instead appears to be focusing on growing its sales team (it has 100 sales people across 37 local US markets) and on driving further engagement.

Engagement is especially important: Pandora saw a 12% increase to 4.8 billion listener hours for Q1, this isn’t as much of a jump as Q4 2013, when it reported a 16% increase.


Jelli And Marketron Team Up On Programmatic Service For Broadcast Radio

Jelli-and-MarketronJelli, a programmatic ad platform for radio, and radio ad software provider Marketron are partnering up on an automated supply-side service for radio stations, the companies said Thursday.

“Billions of dollars in radio inventory are still being traded in an analog way,” said Marketron CEO Jeff Haley. “We’re taking the innovation that happened on the digital space, translating into a traditional platform and driving efficiency and value to advertisers.”

Jelli offers a cloud-based ad server called RadioSpot that lets advertisers programmatically buy inventory from broadcast radio stations. Marketron offers account management and reporting capabilities through its Mediascape platform.

Through the partnership, Marketron will integrate Jelli’s ad server into Mediascape, allowing Mediascape users to automate the planning, pricing, packaging and selling of radio inventory.

The new service will be launched in Q3 this year and Haley speculated 2,000 radio stations would participate in the service by the end of 2014. There are roughly 15,000 commercial radio stations in the US, according to the FCC.


Twitter Buzz Influences TV Ratings And Vice Versa, Nielsen Says

twitter-tv copyIf there was any doubt of Twitter’s impact on TV ratings and viral viewership, new findings from Nielsen may help dispel it.

Nielsen, which recently ran time series analysis of 221 broadcast prime-time episodes through Nielsen SocialGuide, found that Live TV ratings played a statistically significant role in related tweets for 48% of the episodes. Conversely, the analysis also found that 29% of the episodes showed a volume of tweets had resulted in statistically significant changes in Live TV ratings. Clive Granger, a Nobel-winning economist who died in 2009, originally developed the analysis methodology.

As previously reported by AdExchanger, TV- and media-ratings company Nielsen first teamed up with the social platform last fall when it launched Nielsen Brand Effect for Twitter. Since then, Twitter has reported that brand beta testers reached 95% higher message association with consumers who engaged with a Promoted Tweet and were also exposed to a related TV campaign.


Ad Op Partners In Place, Pandora Makes A Grab For Local Radio Dollars

Doug Stern, PandoraStreaming audio player Pandora has increasingly focused on building ad revenues from the local level up but has met with some hurdles in trying to pry ad dollars from the $15 billion terrestrial radio market.

This week it struck deals with two media buying and planning software providers, Mediaocean and STRATA , which Pandora hopes will simplify the process of buying local audio ads.

"We knew that a substantial portion of the $15 billion radio market is bought through automated systems," Doug Sterne, VP of audio sales at Pandora, told AdExchanger. "About 70% of all spot radio is transacted through those systems. So we're trying to duplicate the workflow associated with buying radio. Using Mediaocean and STRATA will allow us to directly tap that pipeline of spending."


WPP's Xaxis Sees A Draw For Brand Dollars In Programmatic Audio Ads

Brian LesserAlthough the major internet ad players – e.g., Pandora, Spotify, – all swear by their direct sales, Xaxis, WPP's audience buying unit, is looking to leverage audio ads as a way to get more brand campaign ad dollars within its programmatic system.

"The appeal [of internet radio audio ads] is that we want to give brand advertisers another vehicle for audience targeting," said Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser in an interview with AdExchanger. "We fundamentally believe that programmatic buying lends itself very well to brand advertising, despite the fact that it’s mostly used, right now, for bottom of the funnel, direct response advertising. Our job within Xaxis is to make as many channels available to brand advertisers as possible through programmatic buying."

It's hard to find comprehensive figures for how much internet radio is bringing in these days, but suffice to say, consumer usage is surely outpacing ad spending. Last fall, digital audio ad network TargetSpot released a report attempting to put a face on internet radio listeners and suggested that they may be more amenable to being targeted in this format versus other mediums.


TargetSpot Bringing Deeper Audience Targeting To Internet Radio Advertising Says CEO Goldwerger

Eyal Goldwerger, CEO of TargetSpot, an Internet radio advertising network.

TargetSpot CEO Eyal What momentum has TargetSpot seen in 2009 for itself as well as its clients?

2009 is going to be a year of accelerating growth at TargetSpot, driven by rising advertiser demand. This is a result of both an increase in our advertisers' budgets, as well as a much wider mix in our advertiser base. Our customers now include a more complete spectrum, from the very largest national brands running national network campaigns, to national spot campaigns, and through to the small, locally-focused advertisers. Our customers are also using our network in an equally diverse manner: a recent outreach campaign enabled us to double the number of "self service" advertiser sign ups, which complements the growth in our large advertiser and agency-driven business that is predominantly "full-service" based.

Do you consider TargetSpot a technology or a services company?

TargetSpot is a service company which is enabled by great technology. As an advertising network, we enable the advertiser to tap into an immense amount of consolidated inventory and efficiently place ads across the network based on accurate targeting criteria. They benefit from scale, diversity, targeting, and automation. And we provide our integrated distribution partners access to advertiser demand that is consolidated and aggregate through our network. Ads are automatically placed within their streams, with similar benefits from their end.