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TheStreet Open House

Yahoo!, Not Netflix, Is the TV Industry Disruptor

Stocks in this article: YHOO NFLX

Netflix originals aren't done differently than any other original programming, unless, of course, you astutely note that Netflix overpays for them and provides zero creative development (though Ted don't knock that chip off my shoulder Sarandos is hardly qualified to assist directors, producers and talent in their creative endeavors).

Netflix airs the same type of programming -- or the exact same programming -- as all others who came before it with maybe the exception of YouTube and related, typically smaller Internet-based endeavors. This is key -- Netflix has done little more than elevate the status of streaming. That's a big deal, but hardly the type of disruption big media cannot overcome.

OTOH, Yahoo! is on a track that portends not only real disruption, but an impressive opportunity grab by Mayer.

I think we continue to see Yahoo! feature the type of content -- via Yahoo! Screen -- that television should have been all over for decades.

Because it's of intense interest to me, I like to focus on the live concert streaming opportunity, but you can imagine other areas where Yahoo! does and will take the lead and own (or, at least, co-own multiple spaces).

It's a treat -- a refreshing oddity -- to see a performance, from an actual concert, happening live right now on your television screen via a broadcast or cable network.

The other night, during the Grammy Nominations show, CBS (CBS) plucked Taylor Swift's performance of "I Knew You Were Trouble" from the middle of a show she was doing in Australia. In the past, I can recall VH1 airing live the first few songs from notable Springsteen shows. You see live concerts on television after natural disasters as a means to fundraise.

I'm not talking about a live concert made-for-TV. I'm talking about live concerts made for an in-person audience that the in-home television audience gets to peek in on (via high-quality broadcast or, in Yahoo!'s case, streaming). Tour schedules made available, via simulcast, at on-demand prices.

Why has television allowed this type of thing to remain a treat? Nothing more than a special event? At some point, it becomes something music lovers and even general consumers expect. And if television is unwilling to give it to them -- which they are -- folks who operate on the Internet, such as YouTube and Yahoo!, will.

I expect the acquisitions to continue. I expect Yahoo! Screen to get bigger and better.

Think big. Anticipate the future.

Don't get sidetracked by an outage that impacted a small percentage of Yahoo! Mail users. An event made for haters who like to hate, but one that will have absolutely zero impact on the increasingly positive trajectory of YHOO the stock and Yahoo! the company.

Marissa Mayer understands she's on the cusp of a multi-billion dollar opportunity in video. But she's not going to mimic what everybody else is doing and call it disruption. She's going to fill a hole television should have been serving for a better part of the last 100 years.

Part of that strategy, IMNSHO, will include opening the goldmine of live streaming entire concert tours of major acts from Swift to Springsteen to fill in the blank.

An on-demand price per show, monthly subscriptions, access to the archives, etc. -- it's about taking the excitement of the concert tour and bringing it to the music lover night in and night out. Rendering geography as a roadblock to accessibility a non-factor in one of the few remaining areas where it remains one.

Live concert streaming -- we're talking about a multi-billion dollar opportunity tucked within the larger windfall of streaming opportunity.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.
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