Earnings convergence: SiriusXM, Clear Channel, and Pandora

As in the car, so on Wall Street … today. SiriusXM and Clear Channel (including iHeartRadio information) released quarterly earnings reports this morning. Pandora comes to bat at 5:00pm EDT. Here are two summaries and one preview.


siriusxm logo canvasSiriusXM (stock symbol SIRI) announced Q1 earnings this morning, and met consensus expectations. Revenue was up, subscribers were added, and key metrics were forecast to continue growing in 2014. SIRI stock is trading slightly up as of this post, but remains well off its year-to-date highs.

The company reported an 11% earnings gain over the previous quarter, continuing Sirius’s consecutive-quarter streak of double-digit earnings growth (nine quarters). In dollars, the quarter earned just under a billion ($998-million). Most of that income ($851-million) came from user subscriptions, as opposed to revenue contributions from advertising, equipment, and other sources.

Sirius added 266,799 new subscribers, bringing its total paying-user base to 26-million. The company projected 1.25-million (net) subscriber additions in 2014.

Clear Channel / iHeartRadio

iheartradio canvasClear Channel released its quarterly earnings today also. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment includes the broadcast business (840 stations), live events, outdoor advertising, and other segments.

The metric which pertains most to online audio is subscriber growth of iHeartRadio. Inside Radio reports that iHeart grew its registered user base by 66% year-over-year, to 47-million on March 31. CEO Bob Pittman called out the new distribution agreements for iHeartRadio, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple CarPlay, and smartwatches.


Pandora cubeAt 5:00pm EDT, Pandora will discuss its Q1 earnings with investors. (Webcast here.) Since Pandora releases monthly audience metrics, there is no bated breath in anticipation of those numbers. (About 75-million active users, roughly 250-million registered users, and a privately calculated “share of total U.S. radio listening” of just over 9%.)

The key metric for Pandora will be RPM: revenue per thousand listener hours. (The company also breaks out its mobile RPM.) ¬†Another interesting data point is LPM: licensing cost per thousand hours. How those two trend lines move against each other focuses light on Pandora’s central business proposition — buying music and supplying it to listeners.

Last month Pandora raised its subscription price to the Pandora One premium service by 25%, from $4/month to $5/month, in a gradual roll-out to subscribers. Early indications of how that plays out on the balance sheet might and might not be included in today’s call.


Brad Hill