Listening to Radio on the Web? That’s So Last Year

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Posted by Good article.. on September 11, 2009 at 12:35:49:

By Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times

The next generation of radio listeners might not remember the olden days of scrolling through stations by turning a knob on a car or home stereo. Instead, the radio they listen to could very well be on their mobile phones.

Pandora, which runs a popular streaming radio Web site, on Wednesday released its application for phones running Google’s Android software. It’s available for download in the Android Market. Pandora is now available on the Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre, and most of Pandora’s new listeners are listening on their phones — whether it’s while walking down the street or by plugging their phones into speakers in their cars or homes.

Of the 65,000 people who register for a Pandora account each day, 45,000 do so on mobile phones, said Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder. Three-quarters of the new mobile listeners are new to Pandora, as opposed to long-time Web listeners downloading the mobile app. “I’m beginning to think that our future is going to be more mobile-centric than I had even thought, and sooner,” he said.

The biggest surprise — and success — of Pandora’s mobile applications has been the way people plug them in to speakers in their homes and cars, Mr. Westergren said. Those two places have historically been where people listen to 80 percent of radio. “It’s giving Pandora access to the two big pieces of the radio market we’ve never been able to reach before,” he said. “It really allows us to become a much more serious and viable alternative to broadcast radio.”

Another surprise has been the way people interact with the mobile ads shown on Pandora. Mr. Westergren said he thought it would take a long time to build up a listener base that was big enough to attract advertisers and that it would be hard to get people to click on ads if their phones were in their pockets.

But it turns out that Pandora’s 11 million registered mobile listeners (compared to the 35 million on the Web) click on mobile ads about twice as often as they do on Web ads.

An advertiser like Beck’s Beer, for instance, runs an ad that pops up at the bottom of the screen like a piece of toast. If the listener clicks on it, Pandora keeps playing music in the background, and if the listener decides to watch a video or make a call from the advertiser’s Web site, Pandora will pause the music.

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