Internet radio company Pandora Media Inc. reported second-quarter sales growth that topped analysts’ expectations as mobile advertising revenue surged year over year.
The Oakland company generated $157.4 million in revenue in the quarter ended July 31, up 55% from the same period last year, the company said in a statement. That exceeded the average Wall Street analyst estimate of about $156 million.
Pandora, which makes most of its money through advertising, saw a 92% boost in mobile revenue — generated by ads on its applications that enable users listen to music on their smartphones and tablets — to $116 million.
“Our second fiscal quarter was an important inflection point in Pandora’s history,” Pandora Chief Executive Joe Kennedy said on a conference call. “To drive future growth, we are accelerating investment in new technologies, channels and capabilities that maximize the value Pandora delivers.”
Pandora’s net loss increased to $7.79 million, or 4 cents a share. Excluding one-time items, the company said it would have earned 4 cents a share, while analysts had expected 2 cents a share. Pandora shares fell in after-hours trading after rising 22 cents, or 1%, to $21.71 in regular trading Thursday. They have more than doubled in the last year.
The company also picked up new listeners. Its monthly active users number more than 71 million, up 30%, and they listened to 3.9 billion hours of music during the quarter, up 18% year over year.
Pandora said it will eliminate its cap on free ad-based listening hours in September as it has increased the money it makes from heavy users. The company this year established a limit of 40 hours a month before asking users to pay.
Pandora is fending off a growing number of competitors in the Internet streaming music industry, such as Spotify. Larger players are entering the market too. Google Inc. has already introduced an on-demand music service, and Apple Inc. is launching its iTunes Radio in the coming months.
However, Pandora has little reason to worry about Apple’s long-awaited offering, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.
“We do not expect Apple’s iTunes Radio, expected to launch this fall, to have a meaningful impact on Pandora’s listener hours or monetization near-term,” he wrote in a note to clients before the earnings report was released.
As it tries to expand beyond mobile devices, Pandora is increasing the number of car models through which listeners can access the service and plans to launch on Google’s new $35 Chromecast device.
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