Pandora's (P) December audience metrics suggest the Web/mobile radio leader continues to successfully head off iTunes Radio's challenge. Listener hours totaled 1.58B, +6% M/M (aided by an extra day) and +13% Y/Y.
Pandora's share of U.S. radio listening totaled 8.60%, up from 8.44% in November, 8.06% in October, and 7.58% a year ago. Active listeners, pressured for a short while by iTunes Radio, rose 5% M/M and 13% Y/Y to 76.2M.
Also: Pandora is using the first day of CES to announce it will launch an in-car ad platform this month. The platform will support 15- and 30-second ad spots that will run via the 130 vehicles and 270 aftermarket products featuring Pandora integration. Initial advertisers include BP, Ford, State Farm, and Taco Bell.
Needham recently highlighted auto monetization as a major untapped growth opportunity for Pandora, while asserting the company has a 5-year lead on automotive rivals. The company's big 2013 sales investments (particularly for local ad sales) could help its cause.