Pandora beat Wall Street targets on sales for the second quarter, and posted a smaller net loss, as the streaming-music provider continued to its grow its subscriber base — but saw overall number of active users drop.
Total Q2 revenue was $384.8 million, an increase of 12% year-over-year (excluding its now-discontinued operations in Australia and New Zealand and Ticketfly, which it sold last fall). Q2 subscription revenue was was $113.7 million, an increase of 67% on a comparable basis.
Pandora added 351,000 paying subscribers for Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium in the quarter, to stand at about 6 million at the end of June (up 23% year-over-year). Total active users were 71.4 million at the end of the second quarter of 2018 — down 6% from 76.0 million in the year-earlier period, and down 900,000 sequentially from 72.3 million in Q1.
Pandora, which is available only in the U.S., has more overall users than Spotify — but remains well behind streaming-music category leader on paying subscribers. Spotify ended Q2 with 180 million monthly active users and 83 million Premium subscribers; in North America, Spotify has about 56 million total users, of which nearly 26 million are Premium customers.
According to Pandora CEO Roger Lynch, Pandora’s recently announced partnerships with Snap and AT&T, which is offering Pandora Premium as an option for customers of its Unlimited & More Premium wireless plan, along with enhancements to ad tech and programmatic advertising offerings, “position us to further accelerate growth and ownership of the expanding digital audio marketplace,” he said in prepared remarks.
During the quarter, Pandora launched its Premium Family Plan that provides access for up to six people under one billing account for $14.99 a month. The standard Pandora Premium plan ($9.99 per month) provides on-demand access to songs for a single user.
Pandora closed the acquisition of audio advertising-tech startup Adswizz on May 25. The final purchase price was $146.6 million, comprising $73.7 million in cash and 9.6 million shares.
Pandora’s net loss was $92.0 million (38 cents per share) for the most recent quarter, versus a net loss of $275.1 million in Q2 last year.
For the second quarter of 2018, the net loss included an “unforecasted” non-cash charge of $14.6 million related to convertible debt exchange, plus a $7.2 million tax benefit for the release of a valuation allowance associated with the acquisition of Adswizz and additional expense relating to restructuring and the AdsWizz transaction fees, all of which reduced net income by approximately $10.5 million.
Total Pandora listener hours were 5.09 billion for the second quarter of 2018, down from 5.22 billion for the same period the prior year.