Pandora internet radio service launches in-car ads

People who listen to Pandora Media Inc.’s internet radio service in the car will now hear advertisements as the company tries to increase revenue in the automotive market.

The Oakland-based company said Monday it was rolling out in-car advertising this month to serve ads from brands such as BP, Ford Motor Co., State Farm and Taco Bell. However, users will hear fewer advertisements on Pandora’s automatic service than on its web and mobile versions.

Pandora works in 130 vehicle models – including nine of the top 10 best-selling vehicles – and 270 aftermarket automotive devices. The company is trying to take advantage of a large market for motorists. Half of listening to the radio is while driving, said Pandora, which began partnering with automakers in 2010.

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“We are now seizing the opportunity to connect advertisers with a more targeted audience than traditional radio can provide,” said Simon Fleming-Wood, chief marketing officer of Pandora, in a statement.

Pandora said its overall listening hours were 1.58 billion in December, up 13% from the same month last year, and that its number of active listeners was also up 13% year-on-year. annual, reaching 76.2 million.

He said its share of the total radio market in the United States increased to 8.6%, from 7.58% in December 2012.

The new numbers indicate that the popularity of the service continues to resist Apple Inc.’s iTunes radio service and Spotify’s new free mobile version.

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth, who tracks Pandora, said the updated numbers are a positive sign for the company. “The December measures are strong and suggest that Pandora is holding up well despite increased competition,” he wrote in a note to customers.

Pandora shares rose more than 14% to $ 31.49 as of Monday’s close on Wall Street.


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