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BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says Pandora’s management is scared to take his questions.Greenfield a notorious bear on the company, slapping a sell rating and a $5.50 price target on it the day after the stock started trading. (It’s trading around $11, down 7% this morning after last night’s earnings.)
On last night’s earnings call Pandora refused to take questions from Greenfield for the second quarter in a row.
If it had taken Greenfield’s questions, this is what he would have asked:
- Registered users appear to have flattened out sequentially with Pandora’s slide deck showing 100+ (million) in each of the last two quarters, compared to 94 mm in FY12 Q1 (April 2011) and 82 mm in FY11 Q4 (January 2011). Pandora stated that competition was having no impact on their business, in turn, how do they explain the rate of growth change in registered users in such a short period of time?
- The sequential growth rate in Active Users (streamed music from Pandora within the prior 30 days) has decelerated each of the past three quarters from 20% growth in FY11 Q4 (January 2011) to 17% growth in FY12 Q1 (April 2011) to 9% in FY12 Q2 (July 2011) to 8% in FY12 Q3 (October 2011). Is this a function of the business maturing or is competition beginning to take its toll?
- Why is the Music Genome Project better than Echonest’s technology? Echonest appears to be powering an increasing array of competitors with a far wider selection of music to base its recommendations. Why is the adherence to the Music Genome Project (every song has to be listened to and graded by human ears and Pandora has to buy a CD with every track they include in the collection) so important with technology-driven competition rising rapidly?
- Pandora management cited the social functionality as a key benefit of their recent website upgrade to HTML5. However, it does not appear to have driven a significant increase in station sharing on leading social networks. We are curious if Pandora is satisfied with Pandora’s social media visibility? Is Pandora having second thoughts about working with Facebook? Is there any technological barrier to integrating Facebook’s Open Graph? Why not embrace Facebook?
- Mobile listening was flat at 70% sequentially vs. meaningfully growth the past few quarters (exceeded 50% for the first time a year ago). Why did the share of mobile stop increasing? Should we expect that level to be maintained?
- What percentage of mobile listening is occurring in automobiles? How will an increasing share of car-based listening affect Pandora’s mobile CPMs?
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