Pandora Active Users Dip Under 70 Million, But Paid Subscribers and Revenue Were Up in Q3

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    

Pandora released a fairly positive slate of third-quarter financial figures on Monday, with $417.6 million in total revenue, up 16 percent year-over-year, and nearly 800,000 new paid subscribers during the three months ended Sept. 30. These are Pandora's first earnings since SiriusXM announced it would acquire the Oakland-based music service for $3.5 billion in stock.

Out of Pandora's total revenue, $125.8 million came from subscriptions, up 49 percent year-over-year, and ad revenue rose 6 percent to $292.9, which was helped by the company's acquisition of audio ad tech company AdsWizz in May. Additionally, ad RPM hit an all-time high of $77.83, growing 11 percent year-over-year.

(The year-over-year earnings comparisons do not include Australia and New Zealand, where the service was discontinued in July 2017, and Ticketfly, which was sold to Eventbrite in September 2017.)

For the quarter, Pandora's GAAP net loss was $63.7 million, an improvement on the $66.2 million figure from the same quarter in 2017. Their adjusted EBITDA showed a loss of $3.9 million, compared to a loss of $5.3 million in the same quarter last year.

Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium subscribers were approximately 6.8 million at the end of the third quarter, an increase of 784,000. But while its paid user base continues to tick upwards, overall user totals continued trending downward during the quarter, which ended with 68.8 million users, down from 71.4 million last quarter and 73.7 million reported in Q3 2017. Going further back, Pandora had 77.9 million active users in Q3 2016.

With fewer active users for its flagship, ad-supported radio service, total listener hours dropped to 4.81 billion for the quarter, down from 5.15 billion in Q3 2017 and 5.4 billion in Q3 2016.

The company ended the quarter with $387.6 million in cash and investments, compared to $420.8 million at the end of the prior quarter.

Pandora did not hold an investors call for its Q3 earnings since its acquisition by SiriusXM has not yet closed -- it is expected to be made official in Q1 of next year.

In a prepared statement, Pandora CEO Roger Lynch said he was "proud of the progress" made in an effort to "reinvigorate" the company and that he "couldn't be more excited about Pandora joining forces with SiriusXM. A combined Pandora-SiriusXM will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company, bringing Pandora additional resources to accelerate growth and building on SiriusXM's leadership in the car, subscription expertise, and unique content."