Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren doesn’t drive much. “I’m a public transport guy,” he said. But he does know that half of all radio listening is in cars and that’s made the auto market the Internet radio company’s major focus over the past year.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Westergren announced deals with 16 car makers— from the first partner, Ford, to latest partner Kia— to incorporate Pandora into car dashboards or allow users to stream the service through their smartphones into car audio systems.
It’s part of the firm’s strategy to get its 125 million users to bring the service with them wherever they go and get them to listen even longer. The free service is so far supported by advertising, but ad revenues need to grow to to keep that model going, analysts say. Only 10 percent of customers use its premium paid service.