Seasonality Isn’t a Thing Anymore Thanks to the Pandemic

Audio trends are blurring as people stay home, says SiriusXM and Pandora CMO Denise Karkos at Brandweek

SiriusXM and Pandora CMO Denise Karkos, and Roku vp of marketing Dan Robbins Adweek
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With school carpools and holiday parties largely jettisoned, once reliable trends in content consumption—especially audio—are now in flux.

SiriusXM and subsidiary Pandora typically see listening spikes during weekday commuting times and dips during holidays. But not in 2020.

“Seasonality is not a thing,” said Denise Karkos, CMO of SiriusXM and Pandora, during Brandweek on Wednesday. “We always have these longitudinal trends that tell us what the consumption habits will be around those different occasions. And all of them have been uprooted.”

While the goal is to always “protect the car,” where much of music listening takes place for many people, but Karkos said the pandemic has driven awareness and adoption of the companies’ streaming offerings, including on connected TVs, as more people are working and playing at home.

Pandora even pivoted its marketing in May in response to the surge it was seeing in smart home device listening.

Karkos said SiriusXM and Pandora are no longer seeing consumption drops during holidays or over the weekends since people aren’t going out to celebrate special occasions, but it’s unclear whether those trends will continue.

“There are positive trends in here, but it’s going to be interesting to see how we all address seasonality when things potentially come back to normal. Obviously, this is a positive trend and I want them to sustain, but with something as stubborn as seasonality I have imagine it’s a short-term trend,” said Karkos.

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@andrewblustein Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.