According to Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra, Pandora's strategy for growth moving forward will be mostly dependent on new advertising strategies and ongoing partnerships. The news follows a nearly 75-percent growth over the past year. Previously, the company had centered efforts on its Premium subscription services, including the introduction of a new competitively priced group subscription near the end of last month. Moving forward, that focus continues, heavily augmented by its partnership with Snap Inc. and AT&T. Moreover, the company plans to leverage its recent acquisition of AdsWizz to explore better advertising strategies for its core music streaming product.
As explained by Chopra, the focus on Pandora Premium has shifted with the introduction of its AT&T partnership allowing users of the carrier's unlimited plans access to the service with their plan. That serves to bring more publicity to the ad-free benefits of the plan, in addition to providing an OTT service for AT&T and more subscribers in general to Pandora. That compounds on top of the option for free-use users to watch select ads for on-demand access to the features. The partnership with Snap takes things in a slightly different direction, allowing users to include Pandora-based music alongside their Snapchat shares. The integration is expected to have a similar effect to the AT&T deal in terms of brand awareness. Not least of all, that's because it allows for the free placement of music to a social network without dependence on YouTube or other user-based services. Direct integration is also a step away from most other apps, making it the easiest choice for including music alongside shares, which should drive more Snapchat users to the platform over time.
Meanwhile, the company's acquisition of AdWizz is also spurring new directions for Pandora's more traditional advertising. Among those is the company's new push to incorporate more "programmatic audio inventory" complete with advertising. The goal is to move the company's service from an ad-supported music delivery medium to more of a dedicated audio "platform." The company hasn't elaborated on what that audio platform might include besides music but that's only part of its new strategy for advertising. Another piece to that puzzle comes in the form of research into more audio-driven advertising. That's meant to address the industry-wide move away from screen-based experiences toward audio and voice-controlled experiences. More directly, the company is looking for ways to better advertise to users who are accessing Pandora through a smart speaker or voice-interactions with their smartphones.