Yahoo has thrown in the towel on entertainment video content, but it’s still banking on big video events to try to grab eyeballs and boost its business.
The Internet company announced an agreement to host the first live-streaming coverage of billionaire Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting on April 30 in Omaha, Neb. The conglomerate’s event has previously been unavailable to the general public, and Yahoo is treating it as if it were the Super Bowl of modern capitalist culture.
“Partnering with Yahoo Finance provides us with the opportunity to reach more people than ever, in key financial centers around the world, from New York to China and beyond,” Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO, said in announcing the pact.
Yahoo’s core search and advertising businesses have deteriorated, and the company — now looking to potentially sell all or parts of itself — announced plans this month to axe 15% of its workforce.
Yahoo Finance’s live coverage of the Berkshire Hathaway confab will kick off at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, April 30, with a half-hour preview show from CenturyLink Center Omaha, followed by the start of the shareholders meeting live-stream at 10:30 a.m. ET. Yahoo Finance’s coverage also will include highlights surrounding the famed shareholders meeting such as visits to Gorat’s Steakhouse, Borsheims (the jewelry store majority owned by Buffett), the Nebraska Furniture Mart and the “carnival-like atmosphere” of the exhibition hall where Berkshire’s subsidiaries will pitch their products and services.
In addition, Yahoo Finance has exclusive rights to offer a VOD replay of the Berkshire Hathaway meeting for 30 days after the event. Yahoo will sell video and display advertising, as well as sponsorship opportunities, for the live stream.
Yahoo will deliver the Berkshire Hathaway meeting in up to 1080p HD format at 60 frames per second, equivalent to Blu-ray disc quality.
Last week, Yahoo streamed the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from PGA Tour Live, with coverage of play on select holes, also in 1080p. The Internet company is also hosting PGA Tour content on VOD, including access to highlights and original content.
Yahoo’s video initiatives are now geared around its four vertical segments — News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle — after it shut down Yahoo Screen, the video service that was the home to licensed programming and originals including the sixth season of “Community.” In 2016, as part of its cost-cutting moves, Yahoo said it will consolidate some digital magazines under one of those four core verticals and will shut others down. The company also is closing down its games and smart TV businesses.
Last October, Yahoo became the first digital distributor to exclusively stream an NFL game worldwide, notching 15.2 million unique viewers who watched at least part of the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game played in London. The NFL is now shopping over-the-top rights to a package of Thursday Night Football games, with Apple, Verizon, Google and Amazon expected to be among the bidders; it’s not clear if Yahoo, given uncertainty about its future at this point, will make a bigger bet on football.