Having a baby on the job (not literally). Building a big old nursery. Banning work-from-home. Posing provocatively for a magazine. Hiring David Pogue away from The New York Times. Signing Katie Couric.
All big deals -- no doubt, but quite a bit of sensationalistic media fodder that will have very little, if any, impact on Yahoo!'s business.
News that broke Friday afternoon, which -- relatively speaking -- will fly under the radar, could be a harbinger for one of the biggest game changers we will see from Mayer. Yahoo! made what amounts to another acqui-hire, picking up the team behind live concert streaming platform, Evntlive.
According to gigaom:
Evntlive was co-founded by former Cisco (CSCO) CTO Judy Estrin, and offered viewers a more immersive live streaming experience of concerts by letting them access multiple camera angles as well as live chats and other interactive features.
I have written about various live concert streamers (e.g.: iRocke, Concert Window and LoveLive) as well as the potential for Google's (GOOG) YouTube to take control of the space. However, if this move on Evntlive foreshadows a live concert strategy at Yahoo!, look the bleep out.
Why Does It Matter?
It has become commonplace to refer to live sports as the last bastion of appointment programming in television. Rogers Communications (RCI) and BCE, Inc. (BCE) best illustrate a strategy to lock up sports in Canada. In the States, the major media conglomerates continue to hold the cards even as some viewing moves online thanks, in part, to their foothold on major professional sports contracts.
While not a 100%-parallel example, we can look at music -- particularly live concerts and events such as the American Music Awards or Grammys -- the same way.
As I noted in the September article about Google/YouTube and live concerts, the music industry sits on what is easily a multi-billion dollar opportunity:
YouTube and the music industrial complex could ... mov(e) to a format where any act with an interest can facilitate a live stream. Charge whatever the going rate might be ($1.99, $2.99, $5.99, market price) for each show in each city on each tour. You can couple pay-per-view concerts with merchandise sales, offers to subscribe to services such as Pandora and directives to download songs from Google or wherever else.
This is being done in fits and starts in various corners of the Internet, but it's not happening -- full-go -- anywhere. Yahoo! could step in and absolutely take leadership in the space almost instantly.
Yahoo! recently live streamed a show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, where One Direction played songs from their just-released album. Advance promotion gave visitors to Yahoo! sites the option of receiving an email or mobile reminder just prior to the show's start. My daughter was all over it. She was hardly alone.
There's nothing stopping Yahoo! from signing deals with bands like -- and not like -- One Direction to live stream entire tours. A nominal charge per show and/or monthly, or yearly access fees add up fast. Heck there's nothing stopping Yahoo! from buying indie labels or partnering with them and/or the majors.
This is new ground to stake, and it will quickly become holy ground. The music industry has entered a new frontier. The companies recognizing the opportunity and move aggressively to capitalize on it will win. And big.
Why not Yahoo!? The company certainly has a beyond-savvy CEO. Speaking of the music industry ... just like Taylor Swift, Marissa Mayer is a crossover artist, blurring the boundaries between tech, media and entertainment. Yahoo! has attempted similar strategies for years; finally, it appears to have people in place who can execute.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.