Media: Checking out Yahoo!’s (Finance)Vision thing - Yahoo! makes a broadband splash with a financial news channel on the Web. Claire Atkinson reviews its performance to date

Yahoo! launched its first major foray into the broadband Internet market in March, with a financial news channel streaming 40 hours a week of market coverage interspersed with newsmaker interviews.

Yahoo! launched its first major foray into the broadband Internet market in March, with a financial news channel streaming 40 hours a week of market coverage interspersed with newsmaker interviews.

Yahoo! launched its first major foray into the broadband Internet

market in March, with a financial news channel streaming 40 hours a week

of market coverage interspersed with newsmaker interviews.

Called Yahoo! FinanceVision, it’s located at the bottom of the Yahoo!

home page under ’finance: live coverage’ and has its own URL at

While Yahoo! isn’t the first company to link television and Web elements

- Bloomberg, MSNBC and others are already doing it - its enterprise is

different in its ability to pool huge amounts of company data. And it’s

presented in a very casual manner.

The anchors are dressed in polo shirts or layered T-shirts and chat

with, rather than interview, guests. This ’new economy’ look is aimed at

a community of young investors who are interested almost exclusively in

technology stocks.

Market updates from Nasdaq are delivered by one of the channel’s

mini-personalities - a rather intense Bertha Coombs - and are

accompanied by a constantly changing data box of links put together by

Yahoo! ’data wranglers.’

In other windows you’ll find the latest newswire headlines, plus hot

performers and a huge archive of previous guests (for those who tune in

late). For example, if an analyst mentions the main points of his or her

research, the right-hand part of the screen will show you where to

retrieve it, and you can read it while you listen to the interview.

FinanceVision is also planning to tailor the streaming video product to

alert users when interviews relevant to their portfolios are coming


Finding followers

Since its spring debut, FinanceVision has gained a loyal following among

the select group of PR pros who know about it. But still, even some

financial media specialists have yet to discover the service - and that

in itself is an issue for some. ’It’s an excellent service, though I

don’t see them promoting it much,’ says Stacie Leone, director of

marketing and communications at Web measurement firm Media Metrix. That

may be a result of Yahoo!’s conservative approach to launching products.

On the other hand, Yahoo! did switch PR agencies this spring - parting

with Niehaus Ryan Wong and hiring Fleishman-Hillard.

Media Metrix (along with the likes of The Industry Standard, CBS

MarketWatch and the is a FinanceVision content partner and

as such gains logo placement on the site in return for providing

speakers such as analyst Anne Rickert. Media Metrix provides the channel

with a list of weekly top Web sites and plans to build a link to Yahoo!

FinanceVision to provide users with additional information.

The FinanceVision staff is mostly twentysomethings, and while some

anchors are clearly ready for the mainstream, others struggle to bring

life to endless stock price reports. But, says Leone, ’this industry is

young. What counts is expertise and knowledge. They are based in Silicon

Valley, and they’re very knowledgeable.’

One PR pro (who requested anonymity) says the fledgling service

interviews almost anyone thrown at it. That may be an overstatement, but

clearly the channel is not constricted by lack of airtime. The main

booker, Emi Yoshida, schedules around 10 to 12 interviews a day.

Interviews run anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. (The interactive

nature of the show allows anyone in cyberspace to shoot out a question,

which is relayed to an anchor by a producer who selects incoming


Refining service

Running the entire operation is Eric Scholl, who may be familiar to many

PR pros, given his previous job as executive producer of CNNfn. Scholl

wrote to Yahoo! after it acquired begging for a job. He

was brought on board to help form the company’s broadband strategy and

get the firm’s first offering going.

Scholl says the site is tightly geared toward tech stocks, since that’s

what Web users are interested in, but he adds that chiefs from other

sectors do come on the channel. In addition, partner

provides some entertainment news oriented toward business-to-business.

Scholl cites Wendy’s Dave Thomas as an example of a recent guest from

outside the tech/media axis.

’We do like CEOs, COOs or CFOs rather than PR and marketing people,’

Scholl offers. He says interviews with the editorial content partners

are scheduled relatively far in advance, while some people are booked

maybe 10 minutes before they’re streamed across the Web. FinanceVision

claims it’s the only Web-only entity with booths at the Nasdaq and


Media Metrix’ Leone says she has found the staff very professional. Her

guests are interviewed the night before they appear to provide an

outline of subject matter.

Says Scholl, ’As a financial news destination, it made sense to build

off Yahoo! Finance with live financial information and customize that

experience with a look at certain CEOs and put that together in an

on-demand format. We tried not to put TV on the Web.’

By analyzing consumers’ action on the site, Scholl has been able to drop

certain subjects. In its brief history, he has axed lots of lifestyle

material. Now the service is tightly focused. ’Around a third of the

guests are Silicon Valley CEOs, a third are Wall Street people who have

cameras in the trading room, and a third are content partners such as

The Industry Standard and Forbes,’ explains Scholl.

The Yahoo! portal receives 156 million unique monthly visitors. But it’s

difficult to ascertain who’s logging onto Yahoo! FinanceVision, despite

assertions that Yahoo! is the biggest broadband destination on the


Trying to get precise figures out of Scholl is an exercise in futility

(he even refuses to say how many staff he employs).

One PR pro who represents a rival portal says he had reservations about

booking clients on the service, but Scholl insists the channel is


It is even located in a building outside the main Yahoo! headquarters in

Santa Clara, CA. Asked who his rivals are, he says: ’We don’t consider

anybody competition.’


Yahoo! FinanceVision, 3420 Central Expressway, Santa Clara, CA 95051,

Tel: (408) 731 3300

New York office, 111 W. 40th St., 9th Floor, New York, NY 10018,

Tel: (212) 381 6800, Web:

Executive producer and director: Eric Scholl

Chief booker: Emi Yoshida (

Booker: Cynthia Lingan (

Supervisor for New York: Marleen Ong (

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