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Pandora Media (P) Q1 Earnings: What to Expect this Time?

Pandora Media, Inc. P is set to report first quarter 2016 results on Apr 28. It delivered a negative earnings surprise of 16.67% in the last quarter. However, it has a positive four-quarter average earnings surprise of 18.85%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

Pandora has been seeing a slowdown in its subscriber base, compounded by an aggressive marketing strategy by Apple Inc.’s AAPL Apple Music and rising competition from other players like Spotify and Amazon AMZN Music. Moreover, a 15% hike in royalty rates will lead to an increase in already high content costs. 

Moreover, the abrupt departure of CEO Brian Mc Andrews at a crucial juncture in the company’s timeline will add to woes. Though co-founder Tim Westergren will take over as the company’s next CEO, analysts are cautious as “it could take time for his impact to show”.

To combat odds, Pandora has been trying to do a lot of things at the same time, leaving the investor community jittery. It has been overhauling its operations to provide all of “radio, on-demand and live music” on its own platform. As part of the strategy, Pandora acquired companies like Next Big Sound, Rdio and Ticketfly. In addition, it is cutting deals to reduce dependence on CRB rates and better manage its content costs. Apart from Atlas Music, in December, Pandora signed multiyear licensing agreements with ASCAP and BMI, the eminent Performance Rights Organizations, Downtown Music Label, a leading rights management firm and Warner/Chappell Music.

Recently, Pandora added another interesting feature to its Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) called AMPcast. This new feature will allow artists to send instant messages to a select group of fans. This could be an interesting monetization tool for Pandora.

Considering the risks involved in pursuing so many new products at once and also the tedious task of integrating the acquired companies, we can hardly blame investors. 

We believe that if the company is able to successfully implement its overhauling strategy, it can position itself well to gain from increasing demand for music streaming, thus improving monetization and driving strong mobile growth.

For the first quarter of 2016, revenues are expected in the range of $280 million to $290 million. The company expects adjusted EBITDA loss to be in a band of $65 million to $75 million. Stock-based compensation expense of about $38 million and depreciation and amortization expense of $14 million are excluded from the forecasted adjusted EBITDA.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Pandora Media is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Pandora has an ESP of -13.95% as the Most Accurate estimate stands at a loss of 49 cents per share while the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 43 cents.

Zacks Rank: Pandora’s Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) when combined with a negative ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions momentum.

Stock to Consider

Here is a stock that you may consider as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Silicon Motion Technology Corp. SIMO has an Earnings ESP of +7.27% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report
SILICON MOTION (SIMO): Free Stock Analysis Report
PANDORA MEDIA (P): Free Stock Analysis Report
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