Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P), the world’s largest music discovery platform, is the exclusive streaming partner for breakout podcast Serial. This partnership offers new and exciting content for Pandora’s highly engaged audience of more than 78 million monthly listeners. Pandora will also be the exclusive streaming partner for This American Life (creators of Serial) beginning in early 2016.
“Serial Season One was a phenomenon and we at Pandora are among the many eagerly anticipating Season Two,” said Brian McAndrews, CEO of Pandora. “We think our listeners will love Serial and look forward to helping build its growing number of fans.”
While the Season Two launch date remains highly guarded, Season One will be made available in its entirety for listeners who want to check it out for the for the first time or listen again on Tuesday, November 24, right before the Thanksgiving holiday.
For Season Two, episodes will become available every Thursday at 6:00 a.m. ET – the same time they become available via the Serial podcast feed. (Season Two will still be available as a regular podcast, the way Season One is.) Listeners will be able to select which episodes they would like to listen to, as well as where in the episode they would like to tune in.
“For people already listening to Serial and This American Life, nothing will change. But we believe lots of people who’d like our shows simply haven’t heard of them, or haven’t started listening to podcasts,” said Ira Glass, editorial advisor of Serial and host of This American Life. “Serial is the biggest podcast in the world, but only 17% of Americans listen to podcasts at all. That’s why it’s so exciting for us to work with Pandora. Pandora reaches millions of people who never listen to public radio or download podcasts. This’ll get our shows to them.”
“We also have our fingers crossed that Sarah Koenig’s voice sounds enough like Justin Bieber’s that Pandora’s genome pushes the show on hordes of millennials,” Glass joked, referencing the service’s signature music recommendation system.
Podcasting continues to increase in popularity, and this partnership provides Pandora the opportunity to introduce its listeners to a growing content stream. Beyond simply exposing listeners to a new experience, Pandora is making it easy for listeners to tune in – simply add the Serial station and start listening.
“Serial and Pandora are a perfect fit,” continued McAndrews. “We are always looking to delight our listeners with engaging and cutting-edge programming, while Serial is looking to reach the largest audience possible. This gives Pandora listeners yet another reason to tune in.”
The main difference between tuning into a podcast versus a song is its length – up to an hour or more compared to three to five minutes. To account for this, Pandora engineers focused on bringing “chapterized” content to the platform for the first time. Each episode will be broken into five minute chunks, allowing listeners to more easily pick up where they left off, go back to re-listen, or skip ahead. This will not affect the experience for those who want to listen to an episode in its entirety; each will play through with no interruptions.
This is not the first time Pandora has offered its listeners non-music content. Beginning in 2011, comedy was added to the platform and there are currently more than 20 comedy-specific stations. Earlier this year, through a partnership with Ford F-150, “Country Built” was launched – a unique combination of both music and non-music content chronicling the history of country music narrated and hosted by songwriter Otis Gibbs.
Over eight million people have downloaded each episode of Serial’s first season. On weeks that Serial is not coming out with new episodes, This American Life is usually the country’s most popular podcast, with over 2.2 million downloads per episode. (Original Source)
Shares of Pandora Media shares are trading at $11.96, up $0.47 or 4.13%. Pandora has a 1-year high of $22.60 and a 1-year low of $11.38. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $18.90 and its 200-day moving average is $17.70.
On the ratings front, Pandora Media has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 26, Macquarie analyst Amy Yong upgraded P to Buy, with a price target of $19, which represents a potential upside of 65.1% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 23, RBC’s Mark Mahaney downgraded the stock to Hold and has a price target of $20.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Amy Yong and Mark Mahaney have a total average return of 8.0% and 22.2% respectively. Yong has a success rate of 68.2% and is ranked #1085 out of 3808 analysts, while Mahaney has a success rate of 66.1% and is ranked #4.
Overall, 2 research analysts have rated the stock with a Sell rating, 6 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 9 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $18.18 which is 57.9% above where the stock closed last Friday.
Pandora Media Inc provides internet radio services on smartphones, tablets, traditional computers and car audio systems, as well as other internet-connected devices.