will expand its original video programming later this year. But the company isn't trying to sneak into the TV broadcasting business, said President and COO Jeff Mallett.
In an interview after Yahoo!'s
first-quarter earnings call with analysts Wednesday evening, Mallett followed up on a hint dropped during the conference call to say that the company will add to its FinanceVision financial news Webcast with additional video programming later this year.
"FinanceVision, we believe, is a template that fits ... other areas across the network," said Mallett.
FinanceVision, an Internet-only broadcast that Yahoo! debuted in March, has attracted attention as the first original broadcast programmed by Yahoo!. The company traditionally relies on other firms to supply the content -- not just video, but also the text, pictures and audio throughout the Yahoo! site. The launch of FinanceVision has sparked speculation that the company might one day expand into a substantial amount of
television broadcasting. (Full disclosure:
supplies content to Yahoo! FinanceVision, and this reporter appears on the broadcast.)
Not true, according to Mallett, who said FinanceVision isn't a "back door" into TV. With the programming -- live video accompanied by a changing Web window keyed to the streaming media -- "we're focusing on a great PC experience," he said. "Is this interactive television? It is not. ... It's an expanded experience on the Web," primarily for personal computers, he said.
Mallett didn't specify what type of programming might be next, though the company alluded to expanding the format to other subject matter and to other geographic markets around the world.
Mallett acknowledged that some users were having problems connecting with the show, perhaps because of difficulties with the PC software necessary for watching it. "We are human," he said.
But Mallett added that the company is working hard with Internet service providers and companies like
to build out a network so that it will be able to stream media more efficiently to people who visit Yahoo!.
As far as making money with FinanceVision and other media that the company streams through its Yahoo! broadcast operation (the former
), Mallett said streaming media advertisements are still "a relatively small component" of the ad packages that marketers purchase on Yahoo!. One of the problems Mallett said the company is trying to overcome is a shortage of ratings. "Nobody measures voice minutes, audio minutes, video minutes. ... We're working with all major third parties to capture good, solid metrics" so advertisers can measure the success or failure of an ad campaign.
In another example of how Yahoo! is denying aspirations of multimedia domination, Mallett said that the company isn't changing its strategy in the wake of the merger deal between
. Rather than making any acquisitions of other global media companies, Mallett suggested, the company believes that business alliances, presumably less permanent, offer the best approach.
In fact, said Mallett, over the past few months the company has seen "very strong interest" from other media and communications companies that want to work with Yahoo!, and are worried that the AOL-Time Warner distribution network may not be as open to them because of internally generated content.