Yahoo said it would offer two packages. Virtual Conference will provide live or on-demand viewing via the Web that can be accessed by thousand of individuals at numerous locations worldwide. The service can be customized to run a pay-per-view broadcast or include interactive tools for a question-and-answer section, for example.
The other service, dubbed Executive Communication Center-Breaking News Channel, will let companies Webcast a breaking news event, such as an acquisition.
The service underscores the latest efforts by Yahoo to bolster its revenues. To that end, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has been charging for some of its services that were once free, including its personal ads and auction listings.
Unlike these consumer services, Yahoo's new broadcasting services will come at a hefty price. The Virtual Conference Center will cost about $350,000 for five conferences. The second service will cost $250,000 for five events. Yahoo is betting companies will take advantage of the services as a way to increase participation, especially in situations where people cannot travel to an event itself, especially in the face of this month's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
"We're trying to help businesses maintain critical communications," said Jim Lewandowski, vice president of sales, business and enterprise services at Yahoo. "While events in New York have really heightened the activity in this regard, it was something that was already beginning to build as the economy turned down because of cost-savings of using Internet broadcasting to facilitate communications to a large number of attendees."