Pandora local sales highlighted in New York Times


Tim Westergren“A dollar spent on Pandora is better than a dollar spent on terrestrial radio” is the key quote from Pandora Media founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren (pictured) in a story by the New York Times on the streaming audio company’s effort to pitch local advertisers. But the story does not completely look at Pandora through rose colored glasses.

The NY Times story notes that Pandora faces a tough battle competing with “terrestrial radio’s armies of local sales staff members” – but add that it is essential for Pandora to claim a portion of the $17 billion radio ad pie. It notes that Pandora has never posted an annual profit and notes that its stock has taken a beating on Wall Street.

On the plus side, the story says Pandora is pitching advertisers on targetability. It claims to be able to pinpoint listeners by age, sex, ZIP Code and musical taste. It also notes Pandora’s claim to be the top rated radio station in many markets – with no explanation that Pandora is trying to equate thousands of individual streams with being a single station.

Click here to read the New York Times story.

RBR-TVBR observation: Pandora is making a major investment in local sales staffs. It pretty much has to, because it is not reaching profitability with only national advertising. As reported exclusively by RBR-TVBR, Pandora is offering big bucks to hire away expereienced radio sellers. Any major market radio station which doesn’t recognize the Pandora local sales threat and work to counter it is going to get a rude awakening.


  1. Re: “Pandora is making a major investment in local sales staffs. It pretty much has to, because it is not reaching profitability with only national advertising.”

    The second sentence is far off-base; it has been Pandora’s intention to go after local advertising dollars from its inception.

    This “hiring of experienced radio sellers” has been going on since mid-2010.

    There have been plenty of warnings, with the biggest of all being that Pandora is not the only online audio company out on the streets talking with terrestrial radio’s local clients. As businesses are approached, and have “accountability” explained to them, you’ll see more of these advertisers choosing to go with media that gives them response metrics. (That’s another warning that has echoed many times.)

    Note that “response metrics” is not the same as the “metrics” being discussed at NAB/RAB. The former refers to ads, the latter to online audience listening. To date, no radio company supplies actionable response metrics to clients that are close to what is being offered by net-centric audio suppliers.

  2. Age, sex and zip can only tell you so much about a person. As far a I’m concerned, musical taste does not a personal profile make. There are plenty “indie” kids who secret jam out to the Bieber Pandora station when they’re alone.

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