Brands including Fox and Sony Playstation are signing up to an interesting new ad format on Pandora, which will deliver one hour of ad-free listening to users at no extra cost, Adweek reports.
To get an hour of songs without ad interruptions, users simply need to click one of the brands’ advertising banners, which will contain a label saying that a click-through will result in an hour of ad-free listening.
That ad will expand to display in the background of your screen — called a takeover ad — for the full hour of no-cost listening.
The format is in beta testing, meaning it’s available only to a small group of users targeted by the specific advertiser — and only on the mobile app. However, Pandora plans to open it up to all advertisers in the second half of 2015, Adweek says.
Pandora users currently need to pay $US4.99 per month for ad-free listening by signing up to the company’s Pandora One subscription option.
It is not the first time Pandora has given advertisers the chance to reduce the number of interruptions users experience when they listen to music on the app. In 2012, the company partnered with the car marque Lexus, which became the first brand to offer Pandora listeners a full day of “Limited Interruptions” (as the format was called). The idea was that Lexus would be associating its premium brand with a premium experience on Pandora.
Lizzie Widhelm, vice president of digital at Pandora, told Adweek the idea of the newer “Sponsored Listening” product was to introduce the idea of brands offering free music “at scale,” rather than just for a one-day stunt.
Advertisers will be hoping that by offering the gift of ad-free music, users will have more positive associations of their brands. It’s the same reason you often see branded boosts or branded extra lives in online and mobile games.
The rival streaming service Spotify is also testing an advertising format that offers users free play. Sponsored Sessions allow users 30 minutes of free music play in exchange for watching a video ad.
Pandora reported 77 million active users at the end of May, with subscriptions accounting for roughly 18% of its total revenue, which hit $US218.9 million in the second quarter.
Spotify reached 10 million paid subscribers and 30 million free users globally in May. The company has not released its global financial results for 2013 but in 2012 reported a 128% increase in revenue to €434.7 million ($US554.9 million).
Separately on Monday, Spotify announced it was launching Family packages, allowing up to five people to have separate Premium accounts (which cost $US9.99 per month to buy separately) on one bill. Users can add extra members to their bill at a reduced price, with total bills of $US14.99 for one extra account, $US19.99 for two extra accounts, $US24.99 for three extra accounts and $US29.99 for four extra accounts.
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