Pandora (NYSE: P), which has seen its stock price battered since the brief euphoria that surrounded its IPO pricing back in June, posted triple-digit gains in revenues, which was offset by a triple-digit net loss. streaming music company also said that it expects Q3 revenue growth to range between 84 percent and 92 percent and that it might actually reach a small profit by the end of 2012. But doubts about Pandora’s ability attain and hold profitability remain among some analysts.
Additionally, the company will tell analysts on its earnings call that it had 37 million “active listeners” in July, a 76 percent jump from the same month in 2010.
The company also trumpeted the fact that half of its revenues now come from mobile advertising. But some analysts view that as a weakness, not a strength.
In a research note issued yesterday by BTIG’s Rich Greenfield (sub.req.), the analyst noted that splashy, premium campaigns by the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Sobe and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures may provide a nice revenue boost this quarter, but he doubts that such campaigns will produce the necessary ROI those advertisers demand.
The reason is, Greenfield writes, is that Pandora is a “passive listening service” and users generally aren’t inclined to be looking at their phones while these ads run. And when Pandora listeners have the site open on their PC, they’re apt to have other tabs open and therefore aren’t looking at their computer screen either.
Meanwhile, Pandora is looking for deals with carmakers to fuel greater growth, meaning that it will be relying more and more on audio ads. That will probably lead to increased ad loads and some consumers might rebel against that by turning to other audio services. True, Last.fm and Spotify will probably face the same issues, but that doesn’t mean that a level playing field will make Pandora’s attempts to reach profitability any easier.
Some of the highlights from Pandora’s Fiscal Q212:
Revenues: The company brought in $67 million in revenue, a 117 percent year-over-year gain, about $58.3 million was in advertising dollars, which were up 118 percent over the same time last year. Subscription and other revenue was $8.7 million, a 112 percent year over year increase.
Total listener hours: Pandora said its roughly 37 million active users racked up a collective 1.8 billion hours of listening for the second quarter fiscal 2012, an increase of 125 percent compared to approximately 800,000 aggregate hours in fiscal Q211. Estimated share of total U.S. radio listening at the end of the second fiscal quarter was 3.6 percent, up from 1.8 percent the year before.