In the face of the competition McAndrews described, Pandora has tried to evolve. During that same earnings call, he noted how he wanted to transform Pandora into a “go-to music destination,” combining its legacy Internet radio capabilities with on-demand streaming and live music via its October acquisition of Ticketfly. It would be a few years, however, before these capabilities, particularly its on-demand streaming, started driving meaningful revenue for Pandora.
And while Pandora painted a cheerful picture around its ad sales – its Q4 2015 ad revenue was $269 million, up 22% YoY – competitors like Spotify have actively built out ad products designed to take advantage of the audio medium. While Spotify has connected the pipes to enable programmatic buying of audio inventory, for instance, Pandora still focuses on display.
In a previous interview with AdExchanger, Pandora CRO John Trimble said programmatic audio was “not something I feel like we have to be there tomorrow with.”
Pandora’s future remains unclear.
While the company hopes to drive over $4 billion in US revenue in five years, according to Bloomberg News, it has hired Morgan Stanley to arrange a sale of the company.
McAndrews’ departure comes with other strategic management shifts. CFO Mike Herring will take on McAndrew’s role as president. Sara Clemens will become COO and will manage Ticketfly. Chris Philips has been named chief product officer.
AdExchanger will have more Tuesday on Pandora’s ad sales imperative in the wake of this management shakeout.