Web Radio Service Pandora Offers New Video Ad Format

Ad-supported Internet radio site Pandora.com has launched a widescreen, targeted video ad platform. It’s being used by NBC to promote a new TV show and Electronic Arts (EA) to advertise the Beatles Rock Band video game.

The Pandora product, which created primarily for advertisers in the entertainment industry, offers advertisers the ability to run 30-second spots while providing users with the option to watch longer trailers and listen to “relevant” music on a branded station, said a company announcement. The new platform isn’t replacing Pandora’s existing video ad units, said John Trimble, the company’s chief revenue officer. “We’ve had video before,” he said. “This is just a new platform from a delivery standpoint. The old one still exists but with this platform we went to a widescreen, with clean delivery, and it’s served at an engaged moment, when the user is interacting with the site.”

Trimble said the new video ads appear when users within the targeted demographics are changing stations. Users will be able to close the ads after they play for 15 seconds.

The NBC campaign, for a new medical/nurse drama called “Mercy,” also includes a mobile element that allows iPhone users (with a Pandora iPhone app) to view a trailer for the show and to see banners promoting its first episode. EA, targeting 18- to 49-year-old male Pandora users, has produced a 30-second game demo as well as a branded station.

Both campaigns began Sept. 16. NBC’s ends Sept. 23 and EA’s will run until Oct. 11. Pandora will measure clickthroughs for both campaigns and will provide the advertisers with metrics that include the number of users adding radio stations and watching the trailers. Earlier this year, Pandora — which has a user base of more than 30 million listeners — began allowing sponsors to fund free streaming of new albums by major recording artists.

Trimble said several film studios are interested in the new Pandora video ads and three consumer brands are also planning to run video ads on the platform during the next three weeks.

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