Live Nation and Yahoo will live-stream 365 concerts over a 12-month period set to begin later this summer, the two companies announced Monday (April 28) during Yahoo’s “Newfront” presentation to advertisers at New York’s Lincoln Center. The program seeks to answer a question that Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has wrestled with when live-streaming the company’s 60,000 concerts a year – “how can we do this at scale, and efficiently?”
Yahoo appears to be the solution to the scale part of Rapino’s question, touting its 800 million monthly uniques (which surpass 1 billion when you factor in its May 2013 acquisition of Tumblr) and vast abilities to customize and target a user’s experience on any screen through digital magazines. “There’ve been a lot of attempts in the past to launch events online in more of a one-off or episode nature,” says Yahoo’s chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt. “This is the first time, at scale, where two behemoths are getting together and saying, ‘Live is the future, and we’re gonna create a daily habit for music fans.”
It’s the pitch to sponsors that will create the efficiency solutions, helping underwrite the significant costs of streaming a live concert every day for a whole year (Savitt is targeting late June for the first concert – “definitely by July 4.”) Kellogg was announced Monday as the program’s first sponsor, and is expected to be involved for a full-year commitment. Advertising executives familiar with Live Nation's initial sales packages say the company is asking for upfront commitments in the mid-to-high seven figures.
Rapino declined to discuss ad rates or production costs for such an undertaking, only to say, “Five years ago it cost you $3 million to shoot an HBO special, and you couldn’t scale it. Now with the cost of production coming down, you can shoot very efficiently.”
Rapino expects participating acts to vary wildly in terms of stature, from the emerging acts who play Live Nation clubs and theaters, to the arena-sized Grammy winners, to its growing roster of festivals in rock, country, EDM and other genres. “We have 100-plus shows a day somewhere in the world right now,” he says.
It may even perhaps include the company’s latest big announcement – Beyonce and Jay Z’s On The Run stadium tour, announced just hours before Billboard spoke with Rapino and Savitt.
“A stadium tour with Jay Z sounds like a really great live event,” Savitt teased.
Rapino laughed. “When I found out last week we were announcing it today I thought, ‘Oh jeez. Good and bad.’”
With the Yahoo partnership, Live Nation officially throws its hat into the ring alongside YouTube, Vevo, Vice and other music-adjacent players vying for a piece of the “upfront” advertising marketplace, valued at some $20 billion spent on top-tier sponsorships for broadcast television, cable and live events.