You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pandora’s New CEO Roger Lynch Wants to Add More Podcasts, Revamp Ad Tech

Pandora’s new CEO Roger Lynch used his first earnings call with the company Thursday to lay out his vision for getting Pandora back on track. A key focus will be to make Pandora’s free, ad-supported service more appealing to both consumers and advertisers, said Lynch.

“Pandora is very much a business in transition, and there are tangible challenges,” Lynch said. Some of those challenges were on display in the company’s Q3 earnings report, which saw monthly listeners, listening hours and ads sold decrease.

Pandora still managed to grow its total advertising revenue as well as its subscription business, leading revenue to grow to $360.2 million, excluding the ticketing business that the company recently sold. Pandora registered adjusted net losses of $66.2 million. Investors had clearly hoped for better results, sending the stock down 11% in after-hours trading.

Lynch tried to go out of his way to show investors that the company is addressing their concerns. He acknowledged that there is “no silver bullet” for Pandora, but said that the company would focus on both returning to user growth, and grow advertising revenue through better ad tech. “If we’re able to do these things in tandem, I believe we will see shareholder value start to build throughout 2018 and beyond,” Lynch said.

One of the things Lynch wants to use to get people to tune in more often is non-music programming. Pandora struck a partnership to stream “This American Life” and “Serial” some 18 months ago, and Lynch said that he’d want the company to add more such programming.

“New forms of content — like podcasts, spoken word, and traditional radio — will expand engagement with our existing audience and attract new and lapsed listeners,” Lynch said. He signaled that such a move would also make economic sense since royalties will be lower than for music programming.

To actually monetize those listeners better, and grow the number of ads served, Lynch is planning to invest in better ad tech for the company. “One consistent theme I’ve heard from advertisers is that we don’t have all the features they need to easily transact with us and drive their campaigns,” he said. “And this is starting to have a material impact on our revenue.”

Lynch said that the company may either invest to build new ad tech in-house, or acquire companies to solve the problem more quickly.

Lynch, who previously helmed Dish’s Sling TV service, took over as Pandora’s new chief executive in September. The company parted with founder and CEO Tim Westergren in June following a $480 million investment from Sirius XM.

Westergren had been instrumental to the launch of a new premium subscription service, with the goal of allowing Pandora to more directly compete with Spotify and Apple Music. On Thursday, the company revealed that Pandora Premium now has more than 1 million paying subscribers.

More Digital

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • UFC 235 Mixed Martial Arts, Las

    All UFC Pay-Per-View Events Moving to ESPN+ Exclusively in U.S. Through 2025

    The UFC — in a major jump to digital away from traditional pay TV — inked an expanded pact with ESPN under which all of the mixed martial arts promoter’s pay-per-view events will be available exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. for the next seven years. Under the agreement, the ESPN+ subscription streaming service will [...]

  • iPhone 7 Tim Cook

    Apple’s Video Streaming Plans: Key Open Questions

    Apple is expected to give a glimpse of its upcoming video streaming service at an event on its Cupertino, California-based campus on March 25. Reports over the past year have trickled out hinting at what an Apple streaming service could look like, but the company itself has been tight-lipped on divulging details. The streaming product [...]

  • Google Gaming Unveiling Will Include Hands-On

    Google Pop-Up Museum Teases New Logo, Possible Gaming Hardware

    A pop-up Google exhibit that appeared outside the Game Developers Conference Monday morning is teasing what is likely some sort of gaming hardware that’s “coming soon” along with its new logo. A Google employee confirmed to Variety that the logo — seen in the image above —  is for the new tech set to be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content