Buoyed by a fresh $150 million investment from KKR, Pandora executives spun a hopeful tale during an earnings call on Monday. But a later than expected full launch of Pandora Premium and slight downtick in use left more questions than answers about Pandora’s long term growth.
During an earnings call after the market closed on Monday, Pandora said that 500,000 users had signed up for Premium trials since launch. Another 500,000 signed up for a Pandora Plus trial.
After spending several months in limited beta, the new on demand paid Premium service debuted three weeks ago.
Thanks in part to a $150 million investment that was announced at the start of the call, Pandora stock was up 4% in after hours trading.
Total listener hours were 5.21 billion for the first quarter of 2017, compared to 5.52 billion for the same period of the prior year. “Listener hours were actively managed this quarter to optimize margins in our ad-supported service.”
Active listeners were 76.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017, compared to 79.4 million for the same period of the prior year.
First Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights
Revenue: For the first quarter of 2017, total consolidated revenue was $316.0 million, a 6% year-over-year increase. Advertising revenue was $223.3 million, a 1% year-over-year increase, during our seasonally weakest advertising quarter.
Subscriptions: Total subscribers increased from 3.93 million in Q1 2016 to 4.71 million in Q1 2017, growing approximately 20% year-over-year. Subscription and other revenue was $64.9 million, a 19% year-over-year increase.
Ticketing: Ticketing service revenue was $27.8 million, a 25% year-over-year increase.
GAAP Net Loss and Adjusted EBITDA
For the first quarter of 2017, GAAP net loss was $132.3 million compared to a net loss of $115.1 million in the same quarter last year, and adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $71.3 million, compared to a loss of $57.4 million in the same quarter last year. For the first quarter of 2017, adjusted EBITDA differs from GAAP net loss in that it excludes $29.6 million in expense from stock-based compensation, $17.7 million of depreciation and amortization expense, $7.2 million of other expense, $6.2 million in expense associated with the workforce reduction and $0.3 million of provision for income taxes.
Based on information available as of May 8, 2017 the Company is providing the following financial guidance:
Second Quarter 2017 Guidance: Revenue is expected to be in the range of $360 million to $375 million, the midpoint of which reflects 7% year-over-year growth and 16% growth relative to the prior quarter. Our revenue guidance reflects material year-over-year advertising growth resulting from seasonality and the first period during which Pandora Premium is broadly available.
Adjusted EBITDA loss is expected to be in the range of $65 million to $50 million, driven in part by marketing spending timing to support the premium launch. As a reminder, we expect marketing spend to be essentially flat on an annual basis from 2016 to 2017. Adjusted EBITDA differs from GAAP net loss in that it excludes forecasted stock-based compensation expense of approximately $34 million, depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $19 million, other expense of $7 million and a provision for income taxes of approximately $0.4 million and assumes minimal cash taxes given our net loss position. Basic shares outstanding for the second quarter of 2017 are expected to be approximately 241 million. We anticipate a year to date non-GAAP effective tax rate between 30-37%.