Pandora ready to take on iTunes Radio for ad dollars in Australia

Pandora ready to take on iTunes Radio for ad dollars in Australia
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The managing director (ANZ) of music streaming service Pandora has told B&T that she’s not concerned about the imminent arrival of Apple’s iTunes Radio to the Australian market.  

Apple has moved quickly to bring its new iTunes Radio service to Australia and New Zealand with a scheduled launch here penciled in early for 2014, according to reports, which added that Apple hopes to beat Pandora to the UK and Canada markets.

Jane Huxley (pictured), Pandora’s head of operations in Australia and New Zealand, has dismissed claims that iTunes Radio’s looming surge into new markets, such as Australian, will be a huge blow to Pandora and other music streaming services.

"To be honest we welcome all competitors,” Huxley told B&T. “If it’s going to bring more money into the streaming market here then that can only benefit Pandora … so it’s my opinion that any new entries into what is a massively growing market is a good thing."

Digital Trends has reported that 11 million people used iTunes Radio during the first five days of its launch in the US last month.

Huxley said that it’s difficult to gauge the initial impact of Apple’s streaming service in the US, given that it only launched a few weeks ago, and that it’s too early to examine any significant data.

"If it does come to Australia it will offer another choice, bringing money into the market, but if we stay focused and do what we’ve been doing then we have no reason to be concerned," she said.  

Reports have stated that Apple has already reached international agreements with a number of record companies, while Pandora has been reliant on rights granted by government entities in certain markets.

Big Mobile's Graham Christie believes it's an obvious step from Apple and one they probably should have taken as much as two years ago.

"Not doing so has assisted Pandora in it's home market (US) really become dominant. Apple fans will love it, but will probably also use others services,” he said.

"The internet music streaming space is already highly competitive worldwide and in Australia with, by our count, 18 or so serious services, some that are derived from commercial radio stations, some more niche, some more mass (iHeart, Grooveshark and Pandora )."

Christie said in this highly fragmented space only a few will survive.

"These will be ones that have the best user interface, the smartest selection and recommendation intelligence, the ones that are assisted in distribution."

Christie added that commercial success will be determined by the success of monetisation, as building big subscription revenues streams will be challenging in such a crowded space, so they need to get their ad product right.

Huxley, who confirmed that Pandora expects to score one million registered users in ANZ by next month, said the company’s local arm, which now has seven full-time staff, is still on course to have its ad funded model in place by the ned of the year.

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