In a pattern that is consistent with consumer behavior over time, Pandora listeners use the service regularly but less than when they started using it. That’s according to some recent research by Bridge Ratings, a company that focuses on Internet radio usage.
In a study specifically focused on satisfaction among Pandora users (but not sponsored by Pandora, and perhaps sponsored by one of their competitors), Bridge Ratings found that Pandora listeners start out with high expectations for the service. Listeners under 34, who defined themselves as heavy users, said they were unhappy with the 1-2 commercials an hour that they heard. They were also less satisfied with the personalized music selection over time. Time spent listening and number of sessions per day tend to decline with this age group over time.
The survey is interesting, but I find the information provided is just half the story. There’s no data on what percentage of the people surveyed said they liked the service “Alot” or “Just Ok” or “Not Using As Much As I Used To”. And even those choices seem skewed to me — wouldn’t you be inclined to pick the one that includes the first person in the response? Aren’t the answers all supposed to be formatted similarly?
Nonetheless, I suspect the findings are evidence of a trend – Pandora’s popularity as a free mobile app has brought them an enormous registered user base. It’s natural that a portion of those users will not become steady users. Once introduced to streaming, there’s a wide variety of options available for listeners to choose from these days – so Pandora loses listening time to those services as well. Nonetheless, Bridge Ratings notes in its conclusion: “the study found that while Pandora consumers who have been using the service a little as eight months begin seeking other sources for a similar experience, they will continue to use Pandora as their primary source for the customized Internet radio experience.”