In less than a year at the helm Pandora’s newish CEO Roger Lynch has started to turn around the streaming giant. The formula has been a combination of owning and addressing its weaknesses, turning to the strengths it’s had all along, and starting to play some offense with groundbreaking business partnerships. NBC News deep dives into Pandora’s reemergence in this interview piece with Mr. Lynch.
One of the keys to Pandora’s turnaround has been its refocus on the ad supported free tier. As the original large scale streamer in the US Pandora basically had the playing field all to itself for years. As other streamers like Apple and Spotify started to come into the US market they went with a paid subscription-first model, which deprioritized ad sales. Pandora eventually developed its own Premium subscription tier, but has recommitted to the free side with its 70M+ addressable audience in the US as a key differentiator for advertisers.
The other tent pole of Roger Lynch’s strategy is to aggressively market the Pandora brand by forging strategic partnerships with other media players. In the past month alone Pandora has offered Premium trials in a T-Mobile Tuesday promotion, become the song sharing provider for Snapchat’s new app developer Snap Kit, and become the official streaming partner for AT&T’s Unlimited bundle. Each of these initiatives introduces Pandora to news listeners and creates conversion opportunities to grow their business. Based on the early results under Roger Lynch’s tenure this combination seems to be working.