Pandora launches in-car advertising

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PandoraAt CES in Las Vegas, Pandora said it will begin rolling out in-car advertising solutions this month. Major national brands include BP, Ford, State Farm and Taco Bell. Pandora, which says it had more than 76.2 million active monthly listeners and more than 1.58 billion listening hours across all platforms in December, is currently available on nine out of the 10 best-selling passenger vehicles. More than 4 million unique users have activated Pandora through a native integration across the 23 major auto brands and 8 aftermarket manufacturers on the company’s partner roster, representing an increase of 244% from the same time last year.


Advertisers will now have the opportunity to reach car-bound audiences through 15- and 30-second audio spots that will run across the 130 vehicle models that include a native Pandora integration in addition to the more than 270 aftermarket automotive devices that feature the personalized radio service. The company will introduce listeners to the in-car advertising experience by delivering fewer audio ads than on any other Pandora platform. Pandora listeners who subscribe to a Pandora One premium account will continue to enjoy ad-free listening.

Said Pandora Chief Marketing Officer, Simon Fleming-Wood: “Nearly half of all radio listening takes place in the car. We knew early on that to redefine radio, we would need to seamlessly deliver Pandora through in-dash entertainment systems. With an 8.60% share of total U.S. radio listening and unmatched growth and adoption of Pandora in the car, we are now seizing the opportunity to connect advertisers with a more targeted audience than traditional radio can provide.”

Through the connectivity of a smartphone, Pandora native automotive integrations shift the popular controls of the service, like station creation and thumbs feedback, from mobile devices into in-dash entertainment systems.

Ford Motor Company Digital Marketing Manager, Erica Bigley, said, “As an innovation leader, we knew early on that a vibrant app ecosystem was essential to the success of our technology platform and with the vehicle as the traditional home of radio, we were the first to bring the personalized Pandora experience to customers via SYNC AppLink. This next partnership phase lets us effectively reach highly engaged customers where they are most likely to enjoy radio and is incredibly exciting for our business.”

Added Taco Bell Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Brandt: “Taco Bell fans are passionate about music, and we want to continue to share moments of music exploration and discovery with them. We’ve already been able to reach fans by Pandora via their mobile devices, and now, the latest in-car platform will allow us to reach them in their car during mealtime moments when our message is most relevant.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This is pretty significant. When Pandora is activated via a dash app, the company knows the listener is in the car—yet another way to chip away at traditional radio’s hold on in-car listening. To advertisers, this ability means yet another way to hyper-target listeners. They’ll be sending geo-targeted ads to in-car listeners based on their in-market sign-up data.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.