Pandora releases final monthly audience metrics; flat growth; skidding stock

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Today Pandora released the final edition of its monthly audience metrics report, this one representing May, bringing to an end a two-year series of disclosures. Going forward, Pandora will continue reporting audience figures in its quarterly earnings calls.

Audience metrics were essentially flat month-ever-month in May, with year-over-year gains. Pandora stock (P) opened sharply lower this morning, and remains down about 2.5% as of this post.

As always, Pandora disclosed three key performance indicators: Active listeners (a much-scrutinized number that indicates size of audience and allegiance to the brand), Listener hours, and Share of total U.S. radio listening.

The “Share of total U.S. radio listening” statistic is the most controversial, with radio industry advocates disputing it regularly. (It is a private calculation for which Pandora does not disclose methodology, leaving itself open to criticism.) That number has climbed steadily in recent months to exceed nine percent share of listening. In May, the exact calculation came to 9.13%, essentially level with 9.28 in April.

Listening hours were likewise flat month-over-month, shifting incrementally to 1.73-billion hours in may compared to 1.70-billion hours in April.

In the eagerly-awaited “active listeners” category, representing audience size and often used as a key indicator of business progress, Pandora’s active base grew a little over one percent, from 76-million at-least-monthly users to 77-million.

Pandora serves a registered user base of 250-million people who have signed in at least once. Registering is required to listen.

Brad Hill