Pandora Media shares slip after earnings release

Key Points
  • Pandora Media reported mixed results, as active listeners declined for a third straight quarter.
  • The company reported that premium subscribers crossed 1 million in October.
  • Advertising revenue, responsible for the bulk of the company's revenue, missed analyst expectations.
The Pandora Media app is seen on an Apple iPhone.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Pandora Media on Thursday reported mixed quarterly results.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • Loss per share: 6 cents vs. 8 cents expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $379 million vs. $380.6 million expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Active listeners: 73.7 million vs. 74.6 million expected, according to StreetAccount
  • Listener hours: 5.15 billion vs. 5.16 billion expected, according to StreetAccount

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported an adjusted loss per share of 7 cents on revenue of $351.9 million.

Advertising revenue, which accounts for the bulk of Pandora's overall revenue, grew 1 percent year over year but missed analyst expectations. Pandora reported $275.7 million in advertising revenue, which came in below analyst expectations of $289.3 million, according to StreetAccount.

Pandora said that despite an increase in its average price per ad, it sold fewer ads in the quarter.

In a conference call with investors following the earnings release, CFO Naveen Chopra said the company expected the headwinds affecting Pandora's advertising revenue in the third quarter, such as limitations in its ad technology, to continue in the fourth quarter.

"There's no silver bullet that's going to come in and solve these problems," CEO Roger Lynch said. He said investments in ad targeting and reporting technology would start to have an effect throughout 2018.

The company reported 73.7 million active listeners in the third quarter, down from 77.9 million in the same period a year ago, a decrease for the third straight quarter. Listener hours were reported as 5.15 billion, down from 5.4 billion reported in the year-ago quarter.

The stock fell more than 6 percent in after-hours trade. The stock has struggled this year, falling more than 44 percent so far.

The company reported that total subscribers reached 5.19 million in the quarter, representing 29 percent year-over-year growth. Wall Street had expected the company to report 5.04 million subscribers, according to StreetAccount.

In October, premium subscribers crossed 1 million.

A recent survey by consumer marketing firm Fluent found that Pandora is the second-most-popular audio streaming service in the United States after YouTube. About two-thirds of respondents who listen to streaming audio use Pandora, the survey said.

Yet the music streaming market has become increasingly competitive. The Oakland, California-based company has to fend off digital music companies such as Spotify and Deezer, as well as giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

Amid this competition, Pandora has struggled to monetize its user base.

In March, the company launched a premium service for $9.99 a month. This offering lets users search for specific tracks and albums directly, allowing the company to better compete with those offered by Spotify and its competitors.

In June, the music provider announced a $480 million investment from SiriusXM after rebuffing an offer to buy the company outright. In the same month, the company's co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren announced his plans to step down.

WATCH: Pandora names Roger Lynch CEO

Pandora names Roger Lynch its CEO
Pandora names Roger Lynch its CEO