Pandora today hit a milestone of 200 million registered users in the United States, and the company’s chief technical officer Tom Conrad marked the occasion at a talk at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco highlighting the company’s successes in creating a desirable platform for advertising.
Before the company, which launched in 2005, had even begun using a separate server to push out advertisements, it got a call from “a major consumer brand” seeking to buy its entire advertising inventory for November and December of that year.
The company was Apple, and the mega-brand managed to secure exclusive advertising on the new service throughout the holiday shopping season for just $20,000, Conrad said to stunned laughter from the audience.
Each time Apple updated its ads — which happened several times a day — Pandora had no choice but to update its entire website, Conrad said.
But, with an ad server long since powered on, Pandora has delivered 15 billion impressions. Its advertising revenue has grown from 43 million at the outset of the 2012 fiscal year to 109 million last quarter. (The company is not yet profitable, a fact that it largely blames on the high licensing fees it pays as an Internet radio provider.)
The service’s success with advertisers is notable because a full 80 percent of the 1.49 billion hours its users spend listening a month happens on mobile devices. Among mobile apps, only Facebook tots up more hours of user engagement.
— Tom Conrad (@tconrad) April 9, 2013