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P > SEC Filings for P > Form 10-K on 18-Mar-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Annual Report


You should read the following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with the financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ substantially from those referred to herein due to a number of factors, including but not limited to those discussed below and elsewhere in this report, particularly in the sections entitled "Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Industry Data" and "Risk Factors."


Pandora is the leader in internet radio in the United States, offering a personalized experience for each of our listeners. We have pioneered a new form of radio-one that uses intrinsic qualities of music to initially create stations and then adapts playlists in real-time based on the individual feedback of each listener. As of January 31, 2013, we had approximately 175 million registered users, which we define as the total number of accounts that have been created for our service at period end. As of January 31, 2013 approximately 140 million registered users have accessed Pandora through smartphones and tablets. For the fiscal year ended January 31, 2013, we streamed 14.01 billion hours of radio and as of January 31, 2013, we had 65.6 million active users during the prior 30 day period. According to a December 2012 report by Triton, we have more than a 70% share of internet radio among the top 20 stations and networks in the United States. Since we launched our free, advertising-supported radio service in 2005 our listeners have created over 4.0 billion stations.

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We derive the substantial majority of our revenue from the sale of display, audio and video advertising for delivery across our traditional computer-based, mobile and other connected device platforms. We also offer a paid subscription service to listeners, which we call Pandora One. While historically our revenue growth was principally attributable to selling display advertising through our traditional computer-based platform, we now generate a majority of our revenue from mobile and other connected devices and our advertising includes a mix of audio, display and video. This expansion of our services also presents an opportunity for us to reach our audience anytime, anywhere they enjoy music, and therefore offer additional distribution channels to current and potential advertisers for delivery of their advertising messages.

Growth in our active users and distribution platforms has fueled a corresponding growth in listener hours. Our total number of listener hours is a key driver for both revenue generation opportunities and content acquisition costs, which are the largest component of our operating expenses:

Revenue. Listener hours define the number of opportunities we have to sell advertisements, which we refer to as inventory. Our ability to attract advertisers depends in large part on our ability to offer sufficient inventory within desired demographics. In turn, our ability to generate revenue depends on the extent to which we are able to sell the inventory we have.

Cost of Revenue-Content Acquisition Costs. The number of sound recordings we transmit to users of the Pandora service, as generally reflected by listener hours, drives substantially all of our content acquisition costs, although certain of our licensing agreements require us to pay fees for public performances based on a percentage of revenue.

We pay royalties to the copyright owners (or their agents) of each sound recording that we stream and to the copyright owner (or their agents) of the musical work that underlies that sound recording, subject to certain exclusions. We record these royalties as content acquisition costs. Under U.S. law, we are granted the right to stream any lawfully released sound recordings, subject to compliance with certain statutory and regulatory requirements. Royalties for sound recordings are negotiated with and paid to record labels or to SoundExchange, a performance rights organization ("PRO") authorized to collect royalties on behalf of all sound recording copyright owners. Royalties for musical works are negotiated with and paid to publishing companies such as Sony ATV and Entertainment World Inc. or EMI; or PROs such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP; Broadcast Music, Inc., or BMI; and SESAC Inc. or SESAC. Royalties are calculated based on sound recordings streamed, revenue earned or other usage measures. If we cannot agree on royalty rates, the dispute will be resolved by the Copyright Royalty Board, or CRB, in the case of SoundExchange, and by the rate court in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the case of ASCAP and BMI. In November 2012, we filed a petition in rate court to request a determination of reasonable fees and terms with ASCAP. In May 2011, we started streaming spoken word comedy content, for which the underlying literary works are not currently entitled to eligibility for licensing by any PRO for the United States. Rather, pursuant to industry-wide custom and practice, this content is performed absent a specific license from any such performing rights organization. However, we pay royalties to SoundExchange at federally negotiated rates for the right to stream this spoken word comedy content.

Given the royalty structures in effect with respect to the public performance of sound recordings in the United States, our content acquisition costs increase with each additional listener hour, regardless of whether we are able to generate more revenue. As such, our ability to achieve and sustain profitability and operating leverage depends on our ability to increase our revenue per hour of streaming through increased advertising sales across all of our delivery platforms. While we have generated revenue from our advertising products at a rate that exceeds the growth in listener hours in certain fiscal years for traditional computers and for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2013 for mobile

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and other connected devices, to date we have not been able to grow our total advertising revenue at a rate that exceeds the growth in our listener hours.

As our mobile listenership increases, we face new challenges in optimizing our advertising products for delivery on mobile and other connected device platforms and monetizing inventory generated by listeners using these platforms. The mobile digital advertising market is at an early stage of development, with lower overall spending levels than traditional online advertising markets, and faces technical challenges due to fragmented platforms and lack of standard audience measurement protocols.

In addition, our strategy includes increasing the number of ad campaigns for traditional computer, mobile and other connected device platforms sold to local advertisers, placing us in more direct competition with broadcast radio for advertiser spending, especially for audio advertisements. By contrast, historically our display advertisers have been predominantly national brands. To successfully monetize our growing listener hours, we may have to convince a substantial base of local advertisers of the benefits of advertising on the Pandora service including demonstrating the effectiveness and relevance of our advertising products, and in particular, audio advertising products, across the range of our delivery platforms.

Our total revenue has grown from $137.8 million in fiscal 2011 to $427.1 million in fiscal 2013. At the same time, our total cost and expenses have grown from $138.1 million in fiscal 2011 to $464.8 million in fiscal 2013, principally as a result of the growth in content acquisition costs. As the volume of music we stream to listeners in the United States increases, our content acquisition costs will also increase, regardless of whether we are able to generate more revenue. In addition, we expect to invest heavily in our operations to support anticipated future growth. One of our key objectives is furthering our market leadership in internet radio, which we believe will strengthen our brand and help us to convince advertisers to allocate spending towards our ad products. As such, a central focus is adding, retaining and engaging listeners to build market share and grow our listener hours. For the foreseeable future, we expect that there will be periods during which our ability to monetize listener hours will lag the growth of listener hours. As our business matures, we expect that the growth rate in our listener hours will decline relative to our increased ability to monetize listener hours. However, we expect to incur annual losses on a U.S. GAAP basis in the near term.

Key Metrics:

The tables below set forth our listener hours for fiscal 2011, 2012 and 2013 and our active users as of the end of each of those periods along with our total, traditional computer and mobile and other connected devices ad RPMs for those periods.

Fiscal Year Ended January 31, 2011 2012 2013 Listener hours (in billions)(1) 3.83 8.23 14.01

As of January 31, 2011 2012 2013 Active users (end of period, in millions) 29.3 47.6 65.6

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Advertising revenue per thousand listener hours

                                               Fiscal year ended January 31,
                                               2011           2012        2013
       Total                                 $    33.65     $    32.22   $ 29.13
       Traditional computer                       61.60          62.68     53.73
       Mobile and other connected devices         13.70          21.05     22.53

Listener Hours. We track listener hours because it is a key indicator of the growth of our business. We also track the number of active users as an additional indicator of the breadth of audience we are reaching at a given time, which is particularly important to potential advertisers.

We calculate listener hours based on the total bytes served for each track that is requested and served from our servers, as measured by our internal analytics systems, whether or not a listener listens to the entire track. We believe this server-based approach is the best methodology to forecast advertising inventory given that advertisements are frequently served in between tracks and are often served upon triggers such as a listener clicking thumbs-down or choosing to skip a track. To the extent that third-party measurements of listener hours are not calculated using a similar server-based approach, the third-party measurements may differ from our measurements.

Active Users. Active users are defined as the number of distinct registered users that have requested audio from our servers within the trailing 30 days to the end of the final calendar month of the period. The number of active users may overstate the number of unique individuals who actively use our service within a month as one individual may register for, and use, multiple accounts.

Ad RPMs. We track advertising revenue per thousand listener hours for our free, advertising supported service ("ad RPMs") because it is a key indicator of our ability to monetize advertising inventory created by our listener hours. We focus on total ad RPMs across all of our delivery platforms. RPMs compare advertising revenue generated in a given period to advertising supported listener hours in the period and we believe such total ad RPMs to be the central top-line indicator for evaluating the results of our monetization efforts. We calculate total ad RPMs by dividing advertising revenue we generate by the number of thousands of listener hours of our advertising-based service.

We also provide estimates of disaggregated total and ad RPMs for our traditional computer platform as well as our mobile and other connected devices platforms, which we calculate by dividing the estimated advertising revenue generated through the respective platforms by the number of thousands of listener hours of our advertising-based service delivered through such platforms. While we believe that such disaggregated RPMs provide directional insight for evaluating our efforts to monetize our service by platform, we do not validate disaggregated RPMs to the level of financial statement reporting. Such metrics should be seen as indicative only and as management's best estimate. We continue to refine our systems and methodologies used to categorize RPMs across our delivery platforms. Period-to-period results should not be regarded as precise nor can they be relied upon as indicative of results for future periods. In addition, as our business matures and in response to technological evolutions, we anticipate that the relevant indicators we monitor for evaluating our business may change.

Total ad RPMs. 2011 Compared to 2012 and 2012 Compared to 2013. Total ad RPMs decreased compared to the respective prior year periods due to the continuing shift in the platform mix between traditional computer and mobile and other connected devices as well as an increase in listener hours, which was in part the result of the effective elimination of the 40 hour per month free listening cap on traditional computers in September 2011 which created increased advertising inventory not fully offset by advertising sales.

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Traditional computer ad RPMs. 2011 Compared to 2012 Traditional computer ad RPMs increased compared to the respective prior year period, primarily due to revenue growing at a faster pace than listener hours due to the growth of the sales force as well as the maturation of the underlying market.

Traditional computer ad RPMs. 2012 Compared to 2013. Traditional computer ad RPMs decreased compared to the respective prior year period, primarily due to listener hours growing at a faster pace than revenue due in part to the effective elimination of the 40 hour per month free listening cap which created increased listener hours not fully offset by increased advertising sales and to our sales force's increased focus on improving mobile advertising sales.

Mobile and other connected device ad RPMs. 2011 Compared to 2012 and 2012 Compared to 2013. Mobile and other connected device ad RPMs increased compared to the respective prior year periods primarily due to mobile and connected device revenue growing at a faster pace than listening hours. Faster relative growth in revenue was driven by our continued focus on monetizing our mobile inventory including the introduction of new advertising products, particularly audio advertising, for these devices. The increase in RPMs for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2013 was partially offset by the effect of direct advertising sales to one customer which accounted for 9% of revenue in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2012.

Specific to the revenue component of the RPM ratio, total advertising revenue increased by approximately 101% during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2012 compared to the prior year period, with advertising revenue on mobile and other connected devices increasing approximately 305% and advertising revenue on traditional computers increasing by approximately 38%.

Total advertising revenue increased by approximately 56% during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2013 compared to the prior year period, with advertising revenue on mobile and other connected devices increasing by approximately 99% and advertising revenue on traditional computers increasing by approximately 17% respectively.

In addition to ad RPMs, we also track total RPMs, which measure total revenue, including both advertising and subscription services and other revenue, compared to total listener hours. We calculate total RPMs by dividing the estimated total revenue generated through the respective platforms by the total number of thousands of listener hours delivered through such platforms. While we believe that such disaggregated total RPMs provide directional insight for evaluating our efforts to monetize our service by platform, we do not validate disaggregated total RPMs to the level of financial statement reporting. Such metrics should be seen as indicative only and as management's best estimate. Total RPMs for the fiscal years ended January 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013 were to $34.95, $33.32 and $30.49, respectively. Within this, mobile and other connected device total RPMs for the fiscal years ended January 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013, were $14.65, $21.93 and $23.83 respectively. Traditional computer RPMs for the fiscal years ended January 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013, were $58.93, $58.84 and $52.36, respectively. These changes were driven by the same factors mentioned above within the discussion of ad RPMs.

Basis of Presentation


Advertising Revenue. We generate advertising revenue primarily from display, audio and video advertising, which is typically sold on a cost-per-thousand impressions, or CPM, basis. Advertising campaigns typically range from 1 to 12 months, and advertisers generally pay us based on a minimum number of delivered impressions or the satisfaction of other criteria, such as click-throughs. We may earn referral revenue when, for example, a listener clicks on an advertisement and signs up for membership with an advertiser. We also have arrangements with advertising agencies and brokers pursuant to which we provide the ability to sell advertising inventory on our service directly to advertisers. We report revenue under these arrangements net of amounts due to agencies and brokers.

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In fiscal 2011, 2012 and 2013, advertising revenue accounted for 87%, 87% and 88% of our total revenue, respectively, and we expect that advertising will comprise a substantial majority of revenue for the foreseeable future.

Our ability to attract advertisers, and ultimately generate advertising revenue, is critical to our financial success. We believe that we provide a unique and commercially attractive advertising opportunity for our advertisers, including the ability to run multi-platform ad campaigns and to present ads while our listeners actively engage with our service. Although advertisers as a whole are spending an increasing amount of their advertising budget on online advertising, we face a number of challenges. Specifically, we compete for advertising dollars with significantly larger and more established online marketing and media companies, such as Facebook, Google, MSN and Yahoo!. In addition, our audio advertising products target advertisers that traditionally advertise on broadcast radio and are less familiar with internet radio advertising media.

Subscription Services and Other Revenue. We generate subscription revenue through the sale and activation of access to a premium version of the Pandora service for annual or monthly subscription fees of $36 per year or approximately $4 per month, respectively, which currently includes an ad free environment and, on devices that support it, higher quality audio. We receive the full amount of the subscription payment at the time of sale. Subscription revenue derived from direct sales to listeners is recognized on a straight-line basis over the duration of the subscription period. Subscription revenue derived from sales through some mobile operating systems may be subject to refund or cancellation terms which may affect the timing or amount of the subscription revenue recognition. When refund rights exist, we recognize revenue when services have been provided and the rights lapse or when we have developed sufficient transaction history to estimate a reserve. As of January 31, 2013, we deferred revenue of approximately $5.1 million related to refund rights.

Until September 2011, for listeners who are not subscribers, we limited usage of our advertising-supported service on desktop and laptop computers to 40 hours per month. Listeners who reached this limit could continue to use this service by paying $0.99 for the remainder of the month. We included this revenue in subscription services and other revenue. In September 2011, we effectively eliminated the 40 hour per month listening cap on desktop and laptop computers by increasing the cap to 320 hours of listening per month, which almost none of our listeners exceed. In fiscal 2013, subscription services and other revenue accounted for 12% of our total revenue.

Deferred Revenue. Our deferred revenue consists principally of both prepaid but unrecognized subscription revenue and advertising fees received or billed in advance of the delivery or completion of the delivery of services. Deferred revenue is recognized as revenue when the services are provided and all other revenue recognition criteria have been met.

Costs and Expenses

Costs and expenses consist of cost of revenue, product development, marketing and sales, general and administrative and content acquisition costs. Content acquisition costs are the most significant component of our costs and expenses followed by employee-related costs, which includes stock-based compensation expenses. We expect to continue to hire additional employees in order to support our anticipated growth and our product development initiatives. In any particular period, the timing of additional hires could materially affect our operating expenses, both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of revenue. We anticipate that our costs and expenses will increase in the future.

Cost of Revenue-Content Acquisition Costs. Content acquisition costs principally consist of royalties paid for streaming music or other content to our listeners. Royalties are calculated using negotiated rates documented in master royalty agreements and are based on both percentage of revenue and listening metrics. For example in fiscal 2012 and 2013, under some royalty arrangements

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we paid a fee per track, while in other cases we paid royalties based on a percentage of our revenue. In still other cases we pay royalties based on a combination of these metrics. In fiscal 2010 and 2011 we also paid royalties on a fee per session basis.

We periodically test our royalty calculation methods to ensure we are accurately reporting and paying royalties. The performance rights organizations have the right to audit our playlist and payment records, and any such audit could result in disputes over whether we have paid the proper royalties. If such a dispute were to occur, we could be required to pay additional royalties and the amounts involved could be material.

For royalty arrangements under negotiation, we accrue for estimated royalties based on the available facts and circumstances and adjust these estimates as more information becomes available. The results of any finalized negotiation may be materially different from our estimates.

In July 2009 we, together with other webcasters, negotiated new royalty rates on performances with SoundExchange for calendar years 2006 to 2015. The agreement reduced rates originally established by the Copyright Royalty Board for calendar years 2006 to 2010 and established new rates for calendar years 2011 to 2015.

Cost of Revenue-Other. Cost of revenue consists of hosting costs, infrastructure and the employee and employee-related costs associated with supporting those functions. Hosting costs consist of content streaming, maintaining our internet radio service and creating and serving advertisements through third-party ad servers. Infrastructure costs consist of equipment, software, facilities and depreciation. We make payments to third-party ad servers for the period the advertising impressions or click-through actions are delivered or occur, and accordingly, we record this as a cost of revenue in the related period.

Product Development. Product development expenses consist of employee compensation, information technology, consulting, facilities-related expenses and costs associated with supporting consumer connected-device manufacturers in implementing our service in their products. We incur product development expenses primarily for improvements to our website and the Pandora app, development of new advertising products and development and enhancement of our personalized station(s) generating system. We have generally expensed product development as incurred. Certain website development and internal use software development costs may be capitalized when specific criteria are met. In such cases, the capitalized amounts are amortized over the useful life of the related application once the application is placed in service. We intend to continue making significant investments in developing new products and enhancing the functionality of our existing products.

Marketing and Sales. Marketing and sales expenses consist of employee and employee-related costs including salaries, commissions and benefits related to employees in sales, marketing and advertising departments. In addition, marketing and sales expenses include external sales and marketing expenses such as third-party marketing, branding, advertising, and public relations expenses, transactional subscription processing fees on mobile platforms, and infrastructure costs such as facility and other supporting overhead costs. We expect marketing and sales expenses to increase as we hire additional personnel to build out our sales force and ad operations team and expand our business development team to establish relationships with manufacturers of an increasing number of connected devices.

General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses include employee and employee-related costs consisting of salaries and benefits for finance, accounting, legal, internal information technology and other administrative personnel. In addition, general and administrative expenses include professional services costs for outside legal and accounting services, and infrastructure costs for facility, supporting overhead costs and merchant and other transaction costs, such as credit card fees. We

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expect to incur significant additional expenses in future periods as we continue to invest in corporate infrastructure, including adding personnel and systems to our finance and administrative functions.

Provision for Income Taxes. We have historically been subject to income taxes only in the United States. As we expand our operations outside the United States, we have become subject to taxation based on the foreign statutory rates and our effective tax rate could fluctuate accordingly.

Income taxes are computed using the asset and liability method, under which deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the difference between the financial statement and tax bases of assets and liabilities using enacted statutory income tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to affect taxable income. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce net deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.

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Results of Operations

The following tables present our results of operations for the periods . . .

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