Yahoo launches new corporate broadcast services

Yahoo Inc. unveiled two new Internet broadcast services Thursday, predicting heightened demand for communication alternatives given recent corporate belt tightening and travel concerns.

The new Virtual Conference and Executive Communications Center products, available through the company’s Broadcast Services division, come a little more than two weeks after terrorist attacks in the United States snarled travel and left many afraid to fly.

As an alternative to travel, Yahoo’s new Virtual Conference product is designed to allow companies to conduct large-scale meetings online.

Virtual Conference boasts audio-video transmission, informational slides synched to presentations, a browser to view other meetings associated with the same conference, and interactive tools such as polling, question and answer, document sharing and audience survey. In addition, it offers registration, attendance tracking, archiving and hosting, as well as pay-per-view options.

Although Yahoo has long offered broadcast services, the company hopes that this new product can tap into the market created by reduced corporate travel. In the weeks since the attacks, many meetings and conferences have been canceled or delayed, and demand for services such as teleconferencing has soared.

Virtual Conference’s pay-per-view feature offers customers a chance to recoup expenses lost by canceled meetings or low conference attendance, a company spokesman said.

For companies that need to distribute critical breaking news about the organization to global offices and partners, Yahoo also launched an Executive Communications Center, providing a communication channel to distribute internal information. With this product, Yahoo will deliver online broadcasts to designated audiences within four hours of receipt. The broadcasts can be transmitted on a temporary site or via the company’s corporate Web page.

The Executive Communications Center costs US$250,000 for five critical messages a year and the Virtual Conference product is priced at $350,000, also for five conferences a year, the spokesman said.

Yahoo, based in Santa Clara, Calif., can be reached at