October 28, 2021

Media Decoder Blog: Pandora Posts a Loss but Continues to Expand

A year after going public, the popular Internet radio service Pandora is still expanding rapidly, with growth in audience size and revenue. But Pandora Media, the company behind it, continues to post a loss, as its revenue has not kept up with music royalties and other costs.

Pandora, which lets users create free music streams tailored to their tastes, had $101.3 million in revenue for the three months that ended July 31, a 51 percent increase from the same period last year. That was slightly better than the $100.9 million that analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

Its results helped Pandora’s shares rise 9 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday. The stock had closed at $10.08, down 1 percent for the day. The stock is down 37 percent from its opening price in July 2011.

Pandora now has 54.9 million listeners each month. In the last three months they listened to 3.3 billion hours of music, up 86 percent from last year.

Revenue related to use of the service on mobile phones — which counts advertising as well as some revenue from paid subscriptions — was up 86 percent to $59.2 million. A majority of the listening to Pandora is done on mobile phones, although the company has struggled to increase the amount of money it can make from mobile advertising.

“This quarter demonstrated that our mobile monetization strategies are working,” Joe Kennedy, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

But Pandora had a net loss of $5.4 million, or 3 cents a share, for the quarter, its sixth quarterly loss in two years. For the same period last year, the company lost $3.2 million, or 4 cents a share.

Pandora’s largest expense is music royalties, which increase with each listener. For the quarter, it paid $60.5 million, or slightly less than 60 percent of its revenue, in royalties to record labels, artists and music publishers. Its current fee structure is based on a negotiated discount to a rate set by federal statute. And although the next round of royalty negotiations is not expected to begin until 2014, Pandora has already begun lobbying in Washington over its rates.

To offset rising royalty costs, Pandora has been building up local advertising sales teams around the country, and also pushing to be included in ad networks that would put its service into direct competition with terrestrial radio stations.

After withdrawing from many foreign countries several years ago because of music licensing problems, it is now taking its first steps to return to overseas markets, starting with Australia and New Zealand. A regulatory filing last month suggested that Pandora is paying lower royalty rates there than it does in the United States.

“Our dream,” Mr. Kennedy said in a conference call with investors, “is to one day have billions of people listening to Pandora around the world.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/29/pandora-posts-a-loss-but-continues-to-expand/?partner=rss&emc=rss

A.C. Nielsen Jr., Who Transformed Research Firm, Dies at 92

He had Parkinson’s disease, family members said in announcing his death.

The son of Arthur C. Nielsen, Mr. Nielsen became president of the A. C. Nielsen Company in 1957 and its chairman in 1975. He presided over the company’s growth from a modest operation, generating less than $4 million a year in revenue, to one with revenue of more than $680 million.

He worked for the company his entire adult life, joining in 1945 after serving four years in World War II as a major in the Corps of Engineers. One part of his wartime experience gave him insight into the potential importance of computers. He was assigned to construct a building to house a machine that would create elaborate tables to calculate the metrics for firing big artillery guns accurately.

Mr. Nielsen recognized the potential to use such calculations in the family business, which at that point had gained most of its profit from an index that measured and tracked sales of items in food and drug stores. The company, one of the first ever to offer market research, also began to measure radio stations’ audience size in 1936. But even after expanding to a national service in 1942, the radio arm of the business was not profitable.

In 1948, at Mr. Nielsen’s urging, the company invested $150,000 in building the first general-purpose computer, the Univac.

His father remained the entrepreneur of the company and led the way to creation of the first television audience measurement system in 1950. The younger Mr. Nielsen, who was known more for institutionalizing his father’s innovations, moved the company into new areas, like the creation of a clearinghouse for coupons, a service that had become a business generating more than $90 million in sales by the time the younger Mr. Nielsen retired.

He also led the company into tracking subscription data for magazines and even tracking oil and gas wells in the United States and Canada. And as chairman he presided over the development of scanning technology in its early days, allowing the company to collect information on consumer purchases of all kinds. The most visible expansion of the Nielsen business took place in the media measurement division. Nielsen fought to retain its place — critics have long labeled it a monopoly — over the measurement of television ratings, beating back the challenges of several potential rivals. As cable television began vastly expanding the number of networks needing national measurement, Nielsen was positioned to provide the numbers each of those channels needed to sell time to advertisers.

Arthur Charles Nielsen Jr. was born in Winnetka on April 8, 1919, the oldest of five children of Arthur C. and Gertrude Nielsen. While an Army engineer he met Patricia McKnew and soon married her. He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

An avid athlete, Mr. Nielsen played competitive tennis until he was in his 80s and had the distinction of winning the United States Father-Son Doubles Championships with his father in 1946 and 1948. He later represented the United States in senior tennis tournaments. He also won Midwest-based father-son doubles championships with two sons, Arthur III and Chris.

Patricia Nielsen died in 2005. Mr. Nielsen is survived by his sons as well as a daughter, Elizabeth Cocciarelli; a brother, Philip; two sisters, Margaret Stiegele and the Rev. Barbara Nielsen; and seven grandchildren. His father died in 1980.

Mr. Nielsen served on the boards of more than 20 companies, including Dun Bradstreet, Walgreen, Marsh McLennan and Motorola, and advised three presidents.

He also appeared as a mystery guest on the postwar TV show “What’s My Line?” and was questioned about his line of work by the panelists Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf and others.

Accepting the company’s strict retirement policy, Mr. Nielsen stepped down from active leadership in 1983 and became chairman emeritus. The following year he engineered the sale of A. C. Nielsen to the Dun Bradstreet Corporation for $1.3 billion in stock.

The company has since been acquired by the Dutch publishing company VNU. But it has retained the name Nielsen, largely based on brand recognition. In many circles of the television business, ratings are still frequently referred to simply as “the Nielsens.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d60892dfc2ac892a824473082d4de7dd

Media Decoder: CBS Confirms Pelley Will Replace Couric

12:10 p.m. | Updated Scott Pelley, the “60 Minutes” correspondent, will succeed Katie Couric as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” next month — and he will keep working almost full-time on “60 Minutes,” the popular newsmagazine.

Scott Pelley will succeed Katie Couric as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” next month.John Paul Filo/CBS Scott Pelley will succeed Katie Couric as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” next month.

CBS confirmed the anchor shift on Tuesday, capping more than a month of speculation. In turning to Mr. Pelley, CBS is choosing someone who many CBS viewers already know and trust from his time on “60 Minutes.”

The network’s announcement did not mention Ms. Couric or her last day on the job, but it said that Mr. Pelley will start work on Wednesday, June 6.

Mr. Pelley said in an interview that he intended to “bring ‘60 Minutes’ values to the ‘Evening News.’” Essentially, he and Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” want to take what is working on that newsmagazine and apply it to the ailing nightly newscast. Mr. Pelley described those values as “original reporting, unique insight, and fairness to everyone involved.”

“60 Minutes” is the most-watched weekly news program in America, averaging about 15 million viewers on Sunday nights, while the “Evening News” is the least-watched daily network newscast, averaging about six million viewers on weekdays. Ms. Couric, who took over the newscast with great fanfare in 2006, was unable to stem the stubborn, decades-long decline of the “Evening News” audience size.

Asked if he perceived the “Evening News” to be damaged, Mr. Pelley said no, citing the newscast’s many awards won under Ms. Couric’s tenure and praising the staff of the news organization.

“We’ve got enormous strength,” he said. “What the broadcast needs is a little bit of leadership. The correspondents and producers need to understand that we’re going to be about original reporting and about bringing unique insight into the news, so that we add value for the viewers.”

Mr. Pelley, like the anchors before him going back to Walter Cronkite, will be the managing editor as well as the anchor of the “Evening News.” He suggested that he had aspired to be the anchor for that reason above all.

“The anchoring, at the end of the day, is not very important,” he said. “What matters is the managing editor job. That is: coming in early; working with the producers and the correspondents; figuring out how to cover the news.”

He concluded the interview by saying, “We’re gonna lift this thing, and we’re all going to do it together. Everybody’s shoulder is going to go into this. And that’s the only way it’s possible.”

Mr. Pelley’s comments will likely spawn some sighs of relief inside CBS News, which has been abuzz for months about Ms. Couric’s expected exit. A new anchor represents a fresh start for the broadcast and, indirectly, for the entire news organization.

Mr. Pelley said the plan for him to take over the “Evening News” came together “in the last six weeks or so.” Inside CBS News, Mr. Pelley is perceived to be a favorite of Mr. Fager, who was promoted to chairman of the news division last winter.

In what was perceived as an indication that he wants CBS News to be known for hard news, Mr. Fager tempered some of the network’s comprehensive plans for covering the royal wedding last month. While the royal wedding was taking place, Mr. Pelley was working on a “60 Minutes” segment that took him to Iraq.

While taking over the “Evening News,” he said he will keep his “entire team” at “60 Minutes,” and he said he will have a “very significant number of stories” each season. (Seasons of the newsmagazine start in September and end in May.)

Mr. Pelley currently has as many as 20 “60 Minutes” segments each season — “more than a full-time job,” he quipped. After he becomes the “Evening News” anchor, he said, “I will probably be doing something on the order of 15, maybe one or two less than that.”

He said, “You may ask, as my wife has, ‘How will you pull that off?’ My answer to you is the same as my answer to her: we’ll see.”

He is likely to lean heavily on his producers. He said that when his nightly newscast travels to a breaking news event — say, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan or the shooting in Tucson — some of his “60 Minutes” producers will travel with him, too, scouting for possible Sunday segments.

Asked if viewers will see “60 Minutes” correspondents like Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl on the “Evening News,” Mr. Pelley said that it is a “possibility,” but not a specific plan.

Starting immediately, Mr. Pelley will need to get to know his new staff at the “Evening News.” Although “60 Minutes” is a part of CBS News, it is a very specific part — one that is housed in a building across the street from the rest of the news division. Mr. Pelley said he had barely seen his “Evening News” colleagues since moving over to the newsmagazine about a decade ago.

Mr. Pelley’s salary is unknown, but is is almost certainly lower than Ms. Couric’s salary. She was wooed to CBS with an approximately $15 million-per-year salary, a fact that later stirred some resentment inside the news division when there were staffing cuts.

When Ms. Couric was hired by CBS, regular appearances on “60 Minutes” were written into her contract, but once she arrived at the network, some of her associates say she perceived a chilly reception from some of the staff members on the venerable program. Those associates said that the chilliness seemed to stem from the top — Mr. Fager — but that view was disputed by people close to him, who said that Ms. Couric had praised his stewardship of her segments.

Her associates said her appearances on the show were far fewer than she hoped for — averaging not even five a year. Her contract with CBS News ends on Monday, June 4.

Ms. Couric said in a statement Tuesday, “Scott is a great reporter and a real gentleman who cares deeply about the news. I know he’ll put his own unique imprimatur on the broadcast and will do a great job carrying on the rich tradition of ‘The CBS Evening News.’ ”

Bill Carter contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=caab4a8c1985ca03ea9e80ed2bc84cb0