“The recapture of our prior listeners is a very, very important factor for us,” Chief Executive Roger Lynch told Reuters in an interview. “March was the first time in 18 months where we increased the recapture of lapsed listeners.”
For paid users, Pandora’s revenue per user jumped to $6.30, up nearly a third from $4.76 a year ago. Pandora Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra said that was primarily a result of users opting for Pandora’s $9.99 month “Premium” plan, which competes against Apple Music and Spotify to let users select what songs to listen to, rather than its older “Plus” plan for ad-free radio stations where users cannot select the songs.
“We expect we’ll continue to see that (increase in revenue per user) as Premium grows. Plus is actually declining a bit, so Premium has an outsized impact,” Chopra said.
On a conference call with investors, Pandora executives also said they expect its $145 million deal to buy AdsWizz, an audio advertising technology firm, to close in mid-May. That technology will make it easier for advertisers to place ads on Pandora’s service, as well as the services of other online streaming music services.
“It’s very similar to what Google did when they bought DoubleClick,” Lynch told Reuters, “and that’s worked out well for them.”
Excluding items, Pandora posted a loss of 27 cents per share. Total revenue increased to $319.2 million from $316.0 million.
Analysts on average had expected a loss of 38 cents per share and revenue of $304.3 million.
After Friday’s gains, shares of Pandora are up 47.9 percent year-to-date.