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Internet radio provider Pandora is primarily known for its mobile apps, but as it looks to build up its ad offerings, it’s overhauled its website in the more versatile HTML5 mode to make it more attractive to listeners and display advertisers. But the big question is whether it can turn internet radio listeners into watchers.
For the most part, website-based internet radio is typically on in the background on one tab in a user’s browser while they do other web surfing. Perhaps users check on the page to fast forward to a new song or glance at some artist/song info. In order to make users stick around for longer and more often, the site has added a few more social sharing features, such as friend-feeds.
The new Pandora (NYSE: P) site pages are certainly clean, clutter-free space that allows for large-scale video ads, which could command higher CPMs than static banner ads. The new video ad units now come in full-screen overlays and the
The website ads will probably offer incremental ad gains for Pandora, which has seen its stock battered since its IPO in June.
Pandora’s web enhancement comes amid challenges from other internet music providers, such as Spotify, which is not exactly a direct competitor, and startups like Turntable.fm and Myxer Social Radio, vie for audio ad dollars. Pandora’s added emphasis on social features are meant to take those up-and-comers on as well.
A well-rounded, diverse advertising picture is key to restoring Pandora investors’ confidence. For the most part, Pandora’s ad strategy rests on mobile and deals with automakers. As such, Pandora will be concentrating more on local advertising and that will likely have to mean audio ad dollars making up a greater share of its revenue stream, though the company has said that it has no plans to increase the amount of inventory around those ads beyond the three spots per listening hour. Release