Yahoo Is Making a Big Move Into Business Events

Author: David McMillin       

You can live-stream loads of high-quality content — professional golf events on Twitter, football games on Amazon (next season), the Tribeca Film Fest on Facebook, and much more. As online users have demonstrated a real appetite for watching sports, award shows, and product launches from their homes and offices, tech companies have raced to be the first in front of their eyeballs. Now, Yahoo is joining the competition, but the tech company — soon to be acquired by Verizon — wants to own a surprising corner of the market: business events.

Does anyone really want to watch shareholder meetings and investment reports online? Yes. According to a report from Sahil Patel at Digiday, Yahoo’s early tests in the conference and event space are performing well. The stream from the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting racked up an impressive 1.8 million views, while JPMorgan Chase’s meeting collected 2.3 million views. The upcoming calendar for live-streamed business-events content includes Starbucks’ annual shareholder meeting, TechCrunch Disrupt NY, and Johnson & Johnson’s analyst day.

“Yahoo’s live-streaming efforts reinforce the value of digital content,” said Jennifer Kingen Kush, DES, executive director of PCMA’s Digital Experience Institute. “As big brands continue to raise the bar on the digital experience, consumers will expect to be able to find more opportunities to tune in to programming they care about from their devices.”

Life After the Live Stream

While Yahoo wants to capture viewers in real time, the company is also repackaging some of the material in friendly, bite-sized chunks. For example, after hosting its own event — the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit — the company gave viewers plenty of opportunities to watch something other than the entire seven-hour program. Three-minute videos with attention-grabbing titles such as “How Millennials Are Going to Change the Way We Invest” and “Larry Fink: I Find This Stock Market Slide Horrifying” are giving the summit enduring exposure.

Cashing In

Live streaming does more than please viewers; it also represents a potential profit center. A recent report from Business Insider revealed that 88 percent of advertising-agency respondents “might” or “definitely will” invest in live-stream video ads in the near future. That spend likely will increase as more viewers tune in to programming. By 2020, Cisco projects that streaming videos will make up 82 percent of all online traffic.

But despite the massive shift toward live video consumption, don’t expect Yahoo to start broadcasting from every conference, convention, and event around the world. “We’re not doing live for live’s sake — that was the old way of thinking,” Alex Wallace, head of video for Yahoo Studios, told Digiday. “We’re going to do live where it’s interesting for us and you to be there — and not if it’s not.”

Interested in monetizing one of your upcoming online programs? Check out “How to Generate Revenue From Digital Events” from the Digital Experience Institute.

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