Google Inc (GOOG), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Can Pandora Media Inc (P) Keep Up with these New Competitors?

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Radio is going through major changes. Despite being around for years, internet radio has recently grown in popularity and usability. Leading the rapidly growing internet radio movement is Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P). This popular internet radio option supplies listeners with music based on band requests and song preferences. It’s a music explorer that can help you find things that you would have never encountered otherwise. Offering free radio with ads and a premium service without ads allows the listener to decide whether they want to pay for the radio with money or time.

Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P)

Music on the go

One of the things that makes Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) valuable is its mobile capability. Being on mobile devices allows Pandora to connect advertisers with specifically-targeted customers anywhere. This presents an opportunity for both national and local advertisers to reach consumers. This is especially attractive for local advertisers because Pandora is the #1 radio station in almost all local markets. It also offers them new options to improve marketing including targeting, interactivity, and measurability.

Mobile listening represents 77% of Pandora’s total listener hours and has increased 70% year over year. In the 4th quarter of the company’s 2013 fiscal year, mobile revenue increased 111% to $80.3 million from $38 million last year. The continued growth and innovation of mobile listening and advertising is paramount as Pandora moves ahead.

5 point stance

Looking towards the future, Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:Pis focused on five primary growth objectives. First, the company is growing its sales force. Pandora increased the number of employees to 740 in 2013 from 530 in 2012. Second, the company is focusing on increasing utilization of its ad inventory. This move led total mobile RPM to reach a high of $23.83 in fiscal 2013. Third, Pandora continues to focus on developing innovative products. Pandora 4.0 was released with features that include a detailed personal music profile, diverse social sharing capabilities, and increased functionality. Fourth, the company has begun international expansion. While this is a long term plan, Pandora recently expanded in Australia and New Zealand where growth has already outpaced the user growth that the U.S. had during the same stage of development. The final objective is to expand distribution through mobile and automotive devices. This five point strategy shows that Pandora has a solid plan for the future so it can continue its high growth.

Two speed bumps

Both Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) now have internet radio services of their own.

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