Talking tech since 2003

The biggest online radio service, Pandora, issued some new numbers today which stated that the number of U.S listeners in cars has reached 2.5 million.  Obviously, this is a great achievement in Pandora’s effort to win customers from traditional stations.  It’s also great news for the online radio company that has been struggling lately in terms of bringing in the profit, in large part due to the royalties associated with operating an online radio station.

The Oakland California-based company said the service can be found in 23 auto brands and eight car-stereo makers. Chief Marketing Officer Simon Fleming-Wood said more than 100 models will have Pandora available sometime this year.  This is a huge deal for Pandora, especially since almost half of all listening takes place in cars, making it a crucial area in the $15 billion local radio advertising market.  Overall, Pandora has over 70 million listeners using its service.

Pandora will come installed in one-third of all new vehicles sold in the U.S this year according to the company.  Some of the brands that Pandora plans to make (or has made) the service available in are Ford, Dodge, Infiniti, Jeep, and Kia.

Pandora’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed though, at Apple’s WWDC earlier this month, Apple announced iOS 7 — the next generation of the company’s mobile operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.  One of the new features found in iOS 7 is iTunes Radio — a direct Pandora competitor.  Between the news that Apple had refocused its iAd division to start selling ads for iTunes Radio and the announcement that Apple also planned to bring better iOS integration to cars, I can’t imagine Pandora sitting pretty for much longer.

At WWDC Apple said that Acura, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, and Volvo will offer such iOS integration for 2014. In addition, Siri will be riding shotgun soon in BMW models.

Despite Apple’s impending iOS car integration and iTunes Radio, Pandora’s stock was up over 8 percent today, reaching $16.41 at the close of trading.


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