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Sep. 12, 2013, 9:11 AM
Sep. 11, 2013, 5:41 PM
Sep. 11, 2013, 4:37 PM
- Brian McAndrews, once the CEO of online ad agency aQuantive (acquired by Microsoft for $6B), has been named Pandora's (P) new CEO and chairman, effective immediately. (PR)
- McAndrews replaces Joe Kennedy, who has been CEO for 9 years and announced plans to step down in March. Following the Microsoft acquisition, McAndrews served as the head of Microsoft's Advertiser & Publisher Solutions group. Most recently, he was a partner at a VC firm.
- Pandora was generally expected to hire a CEO with a strong ad sales background, as the company works to improve mobile monetization (it's already making some progress here) and courts traditional radio advertisers (both local and national) amid competition from the likes of Apple and Spotify. Investors seem pleased with Pandora's choice.
- Earlier: Pandora higher as Apple falls
Sep. 11, 2013, 2:56 PM
- While Apple dives on concerns about the iPhone 5C's high-end pricing, Pandora (P +5.3%) is rallying, and (in spite of last month's post-earnings swoon) is once more near its post-IPO high of $21.98.
- Shares temporarily fell yesterday after Apple stated iTunes Radio (first announced in June) would become available on Sep. 18 (as part of iOS 7), and showed off its feature set. But they recouped most of their losses before the closing bell.
- Initially, iTunes Radio/iOS 7 will only be available for the iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, and 4S, and the 3rd/4th-gen iPad and iPad Mini. Apple promises iPhone 4 and iPad 2 support will arrive later. The bigger issue for multi-platform Pandora users: Apple clearly has no plans to make iTunes Radio available on Android.
- Previous: iTunes Radio launching in Sep, top advertisers on board
Sep. 10, 2013, 1:24 PM
- Apple (AAPL -0.1%) kicks off its iPhone event by declaring total iOS shipments will top 700M next month (Android activations just crossed 1B), and showing off additional iOS 7 features. (live blog)
- Among other things, OS chief Craig Federighi talks up iOS 7's easier search menu access, improved multitasking tools, and new camera app features. He also notes Siri has been revamped (among other things, it can now be used to search Twitter), and officially announces the launch of iTunes Radilo. Pandora (P -1.4%) shares are ticking lower.
- iOS 7 will be available to iPhone 5 and 4S users, as well as iPad Mini and 3rd and 4th-gen iPad users on Sep. 18. iPad 2 and iPhone 4 support will arrive later.
- Also: Tim Cook has announced Apple's iWork productivity suite will now be provided for free with any new iOS device. That could go over well with enterprise buyers.
Sep. 9, 2013, 11:03 AM
- Two months after announcing a massive reorg (I, II), and a week after announcing the Nokia deal, AllThingsD reports Microsoft (MSFT +0.6%) is restructuring its Windows teams to tie PC, mobile, and Xbox software development closer together.
- Among other changes, Terry Myerson, who was named the head of all OS development in the reorg, will have seven or more direct reports heading teams responsible for a variety of devices and services.
- On the other hand, 3 other Windows execs, Grant George, Antoine Leblond (previous), and Jon DeVaan, aren't part of the new leadership team. It's unclear whether they'll get positions elsewhere at Microsoft or leave the company.
- Meanwhile Xbox exec Yusuf Mehdi says Microsoft will either turn a profit or break even on the $499 Xbox One from the start. Mehdi adds the Xbox 360 is now "incredibly profitable," after factoring various revenue streams, and that the Xbox Live subscriber base is now at 48M users (up from 46M in April and 40M in Jan. '12).
- Also: 1) Microsoft has brought its Xbox Music service, which has seen limited success competing in a crowded online music space featuring Pandora (P), Spotify, and others, to iOS and Android. 2) In stark contrast to Sony's gamer-focused PS4 marketing efforts, the first Xbox One TV ad (video) emphasizes the console's many TV/home entertainment features.
Sep. 7, 2013, 3:30 PM
- If the report, which comes from Swedish paper Dagens Industri (translation), is accurate, it means Spotify is shooting for a valuation 76% higher than the $3B valuation it reportedly received in a ~$100M funding round last November. It also means the music subscription/Web radio service would be worth considerably more than Pandora (P - $3.44B market cap).
- Spotify posted revenue of $577M (up over 2x Y/Y) in 2012, but also a net loss of $77.9M (+29% Y/Y), as massive content licensing costs (~70% of revenue) pressure its margins (Pandora can definitely sympathize). Thus, Spotify is reportedly looking to be valued at 9.1x 2012 sales. Pandora, whose own valuation has shot higher since November, currently trades at 8.1x FY13 (ended Jan. '13) sales.
- Though many other firms rolled out subscription music services before it to limited success, Spotify appears to have cracked the code with the help of an intuitive UI, good music discovery tools, P2P tech that improves performance, and a cheap ($5/month) PC-only subscription option (PC/mobile subscriptions go for $10/month).
- Spotify has 6M paid subs to go with tens of millions of free (ad-supported) users. Pandora has 2.5M+ paid subs and 72M+ total active users.
Sep. 5, 2013, 9:40 AM
- Pandora's (P +1.9%) August listening hours totaled 1.35B, +5% M/M and +16% Y/Y (though only flat with May). (PR)
- Likewise, Pandora's share of U.S. radio listening rose to 7.46%. That's still below February's 8.48% (achieved before Pandora installed a 40 hour/month mobile listening cap for free users), but above July's 7.08% and June's 7.04%.
- Active listeners +1% M/M and +28% Y/Y to 72.1M.
- Pandora removed its mobile listening cap on Sep. 1, ahead of an iTunes Radio launch expected this month. That should provide a boost to September figures.
Aug. 28, 2013, 6:44 PM
- eMarketer estimates Google (GOOG) will have a 53.2% 2013 share of global mobile ad sales, up slightly from 2012's 52.4%. Facebook (FB), meanwhile, is expected to nearly triple its share to 15.8%.
- Facebook's mobile ad sales surged 75% Q/Q in Q2 to $656M. Google doesn't break out its mobile ad sales (or much else), but did note last October its mobile revenue (ads + Google Play) was on an $8B/year run rate.
- eMarketer also estimates Pandora's (P) mobile ad share will slip to 2.37% from 2.71%; on an absolute basis, Pandora's mobile sales have been growing rapidly. Embattled Millennial Media's (MM) share is expected to fall to 0.72% from 0.82%.
- Looking at total digital ad sales (PC and mobile), eMarketer predicts Google's share will grow to 32.8% from 31.5%, and Facebook's to 5.4% from 4.1%. In June, the firm forecast mobile ad sales will rise 79% this year to $15.8B.
- Meanwhile, App Annie reports Google is seeing the most downloads of any publisher in the iOS App Store (exc. games), outpacing even Apple (#2). But ironically, Google is only #2 on Google Play, trailing Facebook (#5 in the App Store).
- Google Maps and YouTube are the two most downloaded apps in the App Store, while the core Facebook app, Messenger, and Instagram are #1, #4, and #6 on Play. Pandora is #1 in terms of monthly App Store revenue (will iTunes Radio change that?), and #4 on Play.
Aug. 23, 2013, 6:09 PM
- Pandora (P -13%) closed near its session lows, as investors who watched shares rise 136% from the end of 2012 decided to take profits in response to the Internet radio leader's mixed guidance and decision to do away with its 40-hour mobile monthly listening cap.
- Stifel, explaining its downgrade to Hold (the firm upgraded in March, when shares were much lower), argues Pandora's story "has shifted back from a focus on margins, including constraints on hours streamed, to a focus on market share at the expense of margins." The firm is also worried subscriber growth (fueled the FQ2 beat) will slow with the listening cap's removal.
- On the CC, Pandora admitted sub growth is likely to slow. But the company argued its ability to better "monetize those hours from 41 onward" (as evidenced by its surging mobile ad RPM) makes the move easier to digest.
- Pandora also mentioned it paid Yahoo $8M to buy an IP portfolio that includes "several fundamental Internet radio patents dating to the late '90s," and that it believes Apple's iTunes Radio content cost is "probably somewhat below what [Pandora's] current content cost is."
Aug. 23, 2013, 12:46 PM
Aug. 23, 2013, 10:19 AM
- Pandora (P -12.8%) has been downgraded by Raymond James (Neutral) and Stifel (Hold) following its FQ2 beat, mixed guidance, and decision to remove its mobile listening cap.
- VMware (VMW +2.7%) has been upgraded to Buy by Jefferies. The company's annual VMworld conference starts on Sunday.
- CenturyLink (CTL +1.2%) has been upgraded to Neutral by Nomura.
- Renren (RENN +6.8%) has been upgraded to Hold by Jefferies following the sale of its Nuomi group-buying site to Baidu. The firm downgraded Renren only a week ago.
- First Solar (FSLR +1%) and Trina Solar (TSL +2.7%) have been upgraded to Market Perform by Raymond James. RJ downgraded First Solar in April.
- Autodesk (ADSK +12.6%) has been upgraded to Buy by B. Riley. Shares are surging after initially falling in AH trading in response to the light FQ3 guidance accompanying Autodesk's FQ2 beat.
- Jiayuan.com (DATE -3.4%) has been cut to Market Perform by Oppenheimer two day after posting Q2 results.
- SunEdison (SUNE -0.4%) has been upgraded to Buy by Needham a day after announcing plans to spin off its semiconductor wafer ops through an IPO.
Aug. 23, 2013, 9:15 AM
Aug. 22, 2013, 5:51 PM
- Pandora (P) states on its FQ2 CC it's removing its 40-hour monthly mobile listening cap on Sep. 1.
- The cap, which applies to free (ad-supported) users, has taken a toll on Pandora's mobile listening activity, as its June and July audience metrics demonstrated.
- The decision comes with Pandora facing tough mobile competition from rivals such as TuneIn, Songza, and Spotify, and ahead of Apple's iTunes Radio launch (expected in September).
- Shares -8.5% AH.
- FQ2 results: I, II
Aug. 22, 2013, 5:30 PM
Aug. 22, 2013, 5:01 PM
- Pandora's (P) soaring sales/marketing spend (+95% Y/Y in FQ2 to $46M, well above rev. growth of 58%) likely has much to do with its mixed guidance. The company has been investing heavily in growing its local ad salesforce.
- On the other hand, improved monetization resulted in content acquisition cost growth (+35% Y/Y to $81.8M) being well below rev. growth, a change of pace from not too long ago.
- Pandora's mobile/connected device ad revenue per thousand listening hours (RPM) surged 46% Q/Q (aided by seasonality) and 53% Y/Y (no seasonality here) to $33.90. In addition, PC ad RPM +23% Q/Q and +4% Y/Y to $59.31.
- Total ad revenue +44% Y/Y to $128.5M. Subscription revenue +142% to $28.8M; the mobile listening cap may have lifted subscriber adds.
- Total mobile revenue +34% Q/Q and +92% Y/Y to $116M, and now 72% of revenue.
- FQ2 listener hours totaled 3.88B, +18% Y/Y but -7% Q/Q (listening cap played a role). The Street was aware of this decline thanks to Pandora's monthly data.
- FQ2 results, PR
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