Streaming music platform Pandora has tried a lot of things to both raise its income and increase its subscriber base, but the company is getting especially aggressive with a brand new ad model that promises an hour of ad-free music for just clicking on a banner ad.
The new ad product, named Sponsored Listening, has a couple of big brands that are eagerly joining in the beta testing, which is initially launching only on Pandora’s mobile app. That’s a shrewd move since about 80% of its users listen on a mobile device, although the company projects a desktop version to come a few months down the line.
So far Fox and Sony Playstation have signed up for the new format, with Fox pushing its shows Gotham and Mulaney, and Sony’s campaign to launch in a few weeks. The ads will only be available to a small group of users targeted by the advertisers for now, but a full rollout to all sponsors and subscribers is expected to begin in latter half of 2015, according to the company.
Pandora currently has around 77 million users but around 3.5 million of those are paying subscribers. A subscriber pays $4.99 per month for ad-free listening, so the Sponsored Listening campaign is a way for more listeners to be exposed to the ad-free environment. For advertisers, not only do they the exposure via the banner ads, but also hope that users will associate the positive Pandora ad-free experience with their brands. Read more on Forbes.
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