Pandora reported 4th quarter 2011 and fiscal year results during a call tuesday afternoon, during which they highlighted huge gains in revenue and audience last year. Fiscal 2012 revenue of $274.3 million grew 99% year-over-year and total listener hours of 8.2 billion grew 109% year-over-year. Total revenue was $274.3 million, a 99% year-over-year increase. Total advertising revenue was $240.0 million, a 101% year-over-year increase. Total subscription and other revenue was $34.3 million, an 87% year-over-year increase.
Pandora now has 47 million active users and 125 million registered users in their database.
These are impressive numbers by any account, Pandora’s ability to grow audience seems endless. Advertising revenue is growing only slightly more slowly than audience. But despite all of that, profitability is eluding them, fortifying some who argue that Internet radio’s basic model, which has a high per play performance royalty, will be impossible to monetize. “Pandora put up impressive numbers but the royalty treadmill will always match their speed making them unable to ever get to profitability.” said digital music entrepreneur Michael Robertson.
At one point during the Q&A, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy talked about Pandora’s need for audience measurement that is more like radio station measurement that is integrated into ad planning and buying software by Donovan and Strata. He said Pandora is working with Triton to accomplish that. In answer to another question about Pandora’s mobile listening, Kennedy said that they still see about 70% of their audience on mobile, but that number is edging up and they expect that trend to continue. Pandora’s ability to monetize their mobile ad units will continue to be a measure of their success.