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Pandora President Sees Radio-Industry Transformation

New Orleans – Internet radio has
had as significant an impact on the radio industry as the film “The Great Train
Robbery” had on the movie industry, Pandora president/CEO Joe Kennedy said
during a keynote speech here at CTIA Wireless 2012.

The marriage of Internet radio
and wireless is further transforming the radio industry because, for the first
time, “internet radio reaches all the places where radio is historically
consumed,” he added.

In explaining his film analogy,
Kennedy pointed out that before “The Great Train Robbery,” filmmakers viewed
movies simply as traditional stage shows in which actors paraded before a
stationary camera, much as they paraded on stage before a live audience. The Great
Train Robbery, however, changed all that, introducing the use of moving cameras,
multiple camera angles, close-ups and multiple background scenes.

The Great Train Robbery opened up
“possibilities that others were blind to,” Kennedy said. Likewise, Internet
radio has opened up new possibilities with its ability to stream music
individually to each listener and, via two-way capability, let individual users
shape the programming that they hear, Kennedy said.

The wireless industry takes
Internet radio’s two core characteristics – one-to-one streams and ability to
customize content – “and ups the ante because the phone is with you,” Kennedy
continued. More than half of Pandora listening is done in the car, he noted.

Pandora launched on cellphones for
the first time in 2007, when it appeared on flip phones and many consumers
connected the phones to cassette adapters for listening through car stereo
systems, Kennedy said. In 2008, Pandora launched its first app for the iPhone,
and since then, Pandora has become the second-most-downloaded app in the iTunes
Store, Kennedy said.

Today, Pandora has more than 150
million registered users, and more than 100 million of them have listened on a
smartphone or tablet, he said.

For Pandora, he said, “this is
just the beginning” because almost all of the world’s automakers have or plan
to roll out car stereo playback of Pandora, via connected smartphones,
alongside AM, FM and XM.

The Internet will have the same
impact on e-books, turning them from simple representations of a printed page
to interactive multimedia sources, he said.

Kennedy concluded his keynote by
asking the audience, “What do you see that the rest of us are blind to?”