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Pandora gets closer to profitability, but outlook disappoints

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Web radio service blows past revenue expectations


Pandora, the web's top radio service, isn't profitable yet, but it doesn't look like a firm in need of government handouts. The company's second-quarter earnings report showed significant revenue growth, even as its third-quarter forecast disappointed analysts.

The company reported adjusted earnings of 4 cents a share on revenue of $157.4 million, blowing past analyst expectations for the company's fiscal second quarter.

Where Pandora came fell short was its outlook for next quarter. Pandora predicts that Q3 earnings per share will come in somewhere between 3 cents and 6 cents per share on sales between $174 million and $179 million. Analysts had expected 8 cents a share on revenue of $170.7 million. Pandora narrowed the range of its full-year guidance, however. Previously, the company said earnings-per-share for the year could be between a loss of 2 cents or a profit of 8 cents. The company now expects to report that it broke even for the year or finish with a profit of 5 cents per share.

Pandora sure doesn't sound like a company that's in need of any government assistance

Earlier this year, the webcaster was preparing to again push for legislation that would lower the music royalties it pays. Pandora has argued for over a year that the cost of music is too high. But music-industry execs denied that Pandora and other webcasters were overcharged, and said that Pandora's tale was contradicted by its own earnings reports. They accused Pandora of playing the pauper to Congress and the prince to Wall Street. Pandora's latest earnings report will likely be used to show the company doesn't need any price breaks.

Pandora reported quarterly advertising revenue of $128.5 million, a 44 percent increase from the same period last year. Listener hours increased 18 percent to 3.88 billion in the period compared to 3.30 billion to last year's second quarter. They accused Pandora of playing the pauper to Congress and the prince to Wall Street.

Investors appeared disappointed by the outlook. Pandora shares were down 4.4 percent to $20.75 per share in after hours trading.