Despite shareholder turmoil, Yahoo is continuing to delve into live streaming: the Web search giant is the first content provider ever to stream Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting, an event some pundits call the "Woodstock of Capitalism."
The company helmed by investor Warren Buffett regularly hosts the meeting for around 40,000 of its shareholders each year from its Omaha headquarters. Yahoo's live stream could reach 75 million viewers, based on the number of monthly users who access its Finance page across various platforms including desktop and mobile.
Yahoo won't just be flipping a switch and streaming the event: the Finance page will provide a half-hour of pre-event coverage from the CenturyLink Center in Omaha where the gathering will be held on April 30, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Visitors to the Finance page will see a guide to weekend festivities and area attractions, suggesting that Yahoo Finance will be temporarily turned into a sort of live tradeshow guide. The company is also selling ads and sponsorship alongside the live stream and the VOD version, which will be available for a month after the event.
"The Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting has been called the 'Woodstock of Capitalism,' and we're thrilled to offer access to a worldwide audience for the first time ever," said Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Andy Serwer in a release. "Yahoo Finance is known for providing its users with unparalleled access to data, analysis, and financial insights. By giving them a virtual ticket to this highly coveted event, we're expanding on that experience in new and meaningful ways."
Serwer said in a CNBC interview that Buffett contacted Yahoo in December about streaming the shareholder event. No money changed hands, he said, and Yahoo won't have to add cameras or on-premise equipment at the convention center as Berkshire Hathaway already broadcasts the event inside the building. "It was a one-sheet [contract], literally one page, 'You guys stream it, don't screw it up. We'll give you the wire. You plug it in. It goes to a satellite and you're done.' It was easy-peasy," Serwer said.
The live stream and integrated coverage are an interesting strategy for Yahoo as it struggles to redefine itself and rebuild its value in an era where Internet video is changing the game for online providers.
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