Pan­dora is a hit with politi­cians try­ing to reach mi­nor­ity vot­ers

▶ Cam­paigns fol­low young vot­ers to stream­ing ra­dio ▶ “Be­ing able to tar­get them on mo­bile de­vices … gives us a leg up”

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - CONTENTS - Tim Hig­gins

Lis­ten­ers who tuned in to Span­ish and Latin mu­sic streams on Pan­dora in Colorado, Florida, and Ne­vada in June got an ear­ful about Don­ald Trump. Specif­i­cally, they heard ads blast­ing the Re­pub­li­can’s as­ser­tions that a Latino fed­eral judge can’t fairly over­see a case in­volv­ing Trump Univer­sity. The spots were paid for by the pro-Hil­lary Clin­ton super PAC Pri­or­i­ties USA Ac­tion, which has bud­geted $35 mil­lion for dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing this year. A sig­nif­i­cant chunk will go to­ward try­ing to in­flu­ence Latino vot­ers. “It’s prob­a­bly the largest ex­pen­di­ture in a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to­ward His­pan­ics by a super PAC,” says Pri­or­i­ties spokesman Justin Barasky.

Dig­i­tal ad spend­ing by cam­paigns is ex­pected to soar to as much as $1 bil­lion this year, from $159 mil­lion in 2012, says me­dia con­sul­tant Bor­rell As­so­ciates. Pan­dora is a fa­vorite for can­di­dates and ad­vo­cacy groups ap­peal­ing to young mi­nor­ity vot­ers, who, rat­ings service Nielsen says, spend more time than av­er­age get­ting news and en­ter­tain­ment on mo­bile de­vices.

With about 80 mil­lion users, Pan­dora is the No. 1 U.S. ra­dio-stream­ing service. It ranks No. 3 in av­er­age monthly min­utes per visi­tor among young peo­ple, be­hind Face­book and Google, ComS­core says. In the past three years, Pan­dora has dou­bled its streams from Cuba, Mex­ico, Puerto Rico, and the rest of Latin Amer­ica and has more than 100 Latin sta­tions— more than ei­ther pop or rock. About a quar­ter of its lis­ten­ers are Latino. That in­creases Pan­dora’s value to cam­paigns. “Be­ing able to tar­get them on mo­bile de­vices that we know they’re spend­ing a lot of time on, es­pe­cially with au­dio ads, which we know are par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive, gives us a leg up,” says Tim Lim, a part­ner at Bully Pul­pit In­ter­ac­tive, a Demo­cratic ad agency. He de­clined to com­ment on clients, but Clin­ton’s cam­paign has used the com­pany, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign spend­ing records.

Pan­dora says more than 100 cam­paigns ran ads on its streams in the first three months of the year. It’s al­ready ex­ceeded its 2014 po­lit­i­cal ad rev­enue, and ads aimed at black and Latino vot­ers are up 500 per­cent. “It feels like we’re go­ing to see a lot of things ac­cel­er­ate as we get closer to the con­ven­tion,” says Sean Dug­gan, a vice pres­i­dent for ad­ver­tis­ing at Pan­dora.

The com­pany isn’t alone in see­ing a big in­crease in mi­nor­ity-spe­cific ad­ver­tis­ing. Univi­sion, the largest Span­ish-lan­guage broad­caster in the U.S., ex­pects rev­enue from po­lit­i­cal ads run­ning on TV, ra­dio, and on­line to ex­ceed the $60 mil­lion it made in 2012. Last year, con­sumer-prod­ucts

com­pa­nies spent $6.2 bil­lion on TV ad­ver­tis­ing tar­get­ing Lati­nos and about $379 mil­lion on ra­dio ads, track­ing com­pany Kan­tar Me­dia says.

A record 27.3 mil­lion Lati­nos will be el­i­gi­ble to vote in Novem­ber, and half will be mil­len­ni­als, the Pew Re­search Cen­ter shows. In the 2014 Florida gov­er­nor’s race, the Latino vote was cru­cial to Re­pub­li­can Rick Scott’s vic­tory. Scott’s dig­i­tal ad buyer, Na­tional Me­dia, bought time on Pan­dora and on Univi­sion’s web­site, run­ning ads tar­get­ing vot­ers orig­i­nally from Colombia, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Scott won the Cuban Amer­i­can vote by a mar­gin of 35 per­cent­age points.

With polls show­ing Trump trail­ing Clin­ton badly among Lati­nos, some con­sul­tants are telling Repub­li­cans in con­gres­sional and state races to re­dou­ble their outreach. Says Brent McGoldrick, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of GOP strat­egy com­pany Deep Root An­a­lyt­ics: “If I’m run­ning for Con­gress or if I’m run­ning for Se­nate and I’ve got a de­cent per­cent­age of my vot­ers who are His­panic, I’d bet­ter make sure that I’m on Span­ish­language TV or dig­i­tal with a mes­sage fo­cused on those vot­ers.”

The bot­tom line Pan­dora, the No. 1 ra­dio stream­ing service in the U.S., has seen ads tar­get­ing mi­nor­ity vot­ers in­crease 500 per­cent this year.

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