Pandora has something to teach Facebook

Here's a closer look at the Internet radio company's latest earnings report.

By Wall St. Cheat Sheet Aug 31, 2012 11:44AM

Woman using computer on airplane copyright Compassionate Eye Foundation, Lifesize, Getty ImagesBy Eric McWhinnie, Editor at Wall St. Cheat Sheet

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times: Facebook (FB) has an extremely popular product, but the company needs to monetize its massive user base. Further, it needs to capitalize on the growing movement to mobile. Fortunately, investors looking for an Internet company with a stronger presence in mobile do not have to look too hard.

The "P" in Pandora (P) does not stand for profit yet, but the radio Internet company is getting closer. After Wednesday's close, Pandora reported financial results for the second quarter. The company's loss widened to $5.4 million, compared to $1.8 million a year earlier. However, excluding one-time items such as $6 million in stock based compensation, Pandora broke even on a non-GAAP basis.

"This quarter exceeded our expectations as our strong momentum continues with both listeners and advertisers," stated Joe Kennedy, chief executive officer. "In particular, this quarter demonstrated that our mobile monetization strategies are working."

Compared to last year, Pandora's total revenue surged 51% to $101.3 million. Mobile revenue jumped 86% year-over-year, with total mobile revenue (including subscription revenue on mobile) coming in at $59.2 million. The 86% gain was close to the 96% growth rate in mobile hours, meaning the monetization gap is narrowing.

Kennedy explains, "In fact, if one adjusts the mobile revenue from the second quarter of last year to exclude the revenue associated with the single large advertiser we had at that time, our growth in mobile revenue year-on-year actually outpaced the growth in mobile hours." Listening hours for the quarter amounted to 3.3 billion, exceeding the total number of hours U.S. consumers spent on YouTube (GOOG) in the same period.

While Facebook users are reluctant to click on advertising when browsing timelines and news feeds, music listeners are already familiar with auditory advertisements. Pandora still has competition from other music outlets such as Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) and Spotify, but managed to increase its active users to 55 million by the end of July. This represents a 48% increase from the same period last year.

Going forward, Pandora plans on maintaining its strong presence by growing in new markets such as Australia and New Zealand. The company also takes pride in upgrading service to keep customers satisfied. Last week, it released the most comprehensive update in three years for its Android app. Pandora also upgraded its iOS Apple (AAPL) app about a month ago.

Shares of Pandora surged more than 18% on Thursday, as the company also raised its guidance. It now expects full-year revenue to total between $425 million and $432 million, compared to the prior range of $420 million to $427 million.

Eric McWhinnie is an editor at Wall St. Cheat Sheet. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

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Aug 31, 2012 3:45PM
i am currently working on a app for smartphones that consumers can download to block and skip adds from social sites you i get more downloads then p and fb combined...who wants repetative and redundant ads on their cell phone, even though you can surf the web and amuse yourelf with info, its still your personal tool to first and foremost contact and be contacted by family and friends.....and second to search, see and hear what you want to, not what others want you too....goodbye advetisors stick to radio, tablets, newspapers, billboards, pc's etc...gonna be called spb...smartphone popup blocker!!!!! goodbye
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