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Pandora ad revenues up but monthly listeners are still falling


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US satellite radio firm SiriusXM published its Q1 financial results yesterday, including updated figures for its Pandora subsidiary. The good news for Pandora: its ad revenues were up 4% year-on-year to $241m. The not-so-good news: its monthly active users are still falling: down from just over 66 million a year ago to 60.9 million now.

Ad-supported listening hours have also dropped from 3.42bn in Q1 2019 to 3.13bn in Q1 2020. Meanwhile, Pandora’s paid subscribers are growing again, although slowly: it added 51,000 net new self-pay subscribers in Q1, ending it with more than 6.2 million.

SiriusXM boss Jim Meyer addressed the decline in listening during the company’s earnings call last night. “We have definitely seen a downturn in our listening. It has come back recently, but still not quite where we would have expected it to be,” he said. “And so we’re spending a lot of time on understanding that.”

Chief financial officer David Frear added some more colour on the impact Covid-19 has had on Pandora, saying that in US states with stronger stay-at-home orders, there was a clear impact on Pandora listening during commute times, and despite a growth in home listening on ‘CE’ devices like smart speakers “the pickup in CE doesn’t make up for the loss of commute”.

SiriusXM, meanwhile, added 69,000 net new self-pay subscribers during Q1, taking it to 30 million in total, and 34.8 million once paid promotional subscribers (e.g. people getting SiriusXM with a new car) were added in. However, SiriusXM has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020 as a whole until “more data is available on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on its business”.

Stuart Dredge

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