Yahoo and Live Nation’s ambitious undertaking to live-stream a concert per day for a full year (dubbed Yahoo Live) finished its first run on July 14, and the results are in: The program logged 135 million live streams from 225 global markets, with a largely millennial audience that spent an average of 24 minutes with each stream.
Though that averages out to roughly 369,000 viewers per concert, Yahoo Live is returning for a second year with a slight shift in focus — instead of one concert per day, live streams will be staggered to three or four per week to better maximize Yahoo and Live Nation’s marketing support.
“We looked at the math and saw that we could actually increase streams and avoid traffic jams for a big Lady Gaga concert if we had a day or two before and after the show,” says Lisa Licht, Yahoo’s senior vp marketing partnerships. She notes that such promotional “traffic jams” were a bigger challenge than securing top artists, although several of Live Nation’s biggest tours, like Jay Z/Beyoncé, One Direction and Katy Perry, did not participate.
The second year of Yahoo Live kicked off July 15 with Christina Perri, with live streams already booked for such acts as Train (July 25), Graham Nash (July 26), Alt-J (July 27) and Miguel (Aug. 4), and festivals including the United Kingdom’s Creamfields (Aug. 28-30), Washington, D.C.’s Landmark Music Festival (Sept. 26- 27) and New Orleans’ Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (Oct. 30-Nov. 1). Citi, Kellogg and Sprint sponsored the first year of Yahoo Live for millions each, but second-year sponsorship deals were still being negotiated at the time of the program’s renewal. Yahoo declined to comment on artist negotiations, but a source close to the situation says that compensation varies, while ad revenue is split between Yahoo and Live Nation.
Kevin Chernett, Live Nation’s executive vp strategic partnerships, says the second year of Yahoo Live will continue to tackle every manager and promoter’s biggest concern — that live streaming a concert early on in an artist’s tour could cannibalize ticket sales. If anything, he says, an early preview can actually help. “As amazing as the live experience is digitally,” he says, “it’s never going to replace the feeling and energy you get when you’re seeing a band live.”
This article first appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of Billboard.