The use of video by both Yahoo! and Netflix for their quarterly earning calls in this earnings season upped the discussion level exponentially (if two can become exponential) about video and investor relations. A few historical and tactical points from an IR product perspective.
Video has been used for earnings announcements in EU countries for several years. This is due to the tactical fact that many companies report twice a year – thus their preparation labor and costs for “earnings calls” are half the USA’s. I assume there are some cross-border strategies here as well.
In the USA, IR only used video at the Annual Shareholder Meeting. Many companies treat the ASM as “a catered marketing event” thus the physical production values were high and that videoed well… especially for retail brands heavily owned by retail investors.
The style of Yahoo!’s and Netflix’s video were surprising different from one another. YHOO was produced in a professionally manicured studio in contrast to NFLX’s webcam approach. It is very convenient that we all saw the best of both styles back to back. Which style is best for your company will depend on your corporate culture / brand and the presentation style of your CEO and CFO.
One very important point: even though NFLX’s video input style seemed “homespun” and Skype-ish, it is smart to assume there was substantial server weight behind the real-time stream. Real-time video is a lot of data. How many people attend your live audio earnings call? There is your starting number for your real-time video bandwidth.
The visual and production style of your video will affect bandwidth too. The prettier the picture (YHOO), the more pixels need to be push to people. Simultaneously.
Bandwidth is where money is needed. For budget purposes, assume your quarterly webcast fees will increase seven-fold from an “audio only” webcast. Five years ago, that would have been twenty-fold.
Strategically, is video right for IR? Video is right for ANY online communications, we all intrinsically know that. The perennial speedbump for IR is quantitative proof. Marketing departments have the luxury of a more immediate video-watched- cause and effect gratification.
Compared to an audio presentation, will investors prefer to “look your CEO in the eye” when he/she reports the earnings? Of course they will.
Our role is to help you tactically get that video online.
How PR Newswire helps: Our MultiVu division is a complete video production house, from image acquisition (lights, camera, action) to broad internet delivery. Also, our ongoing “Re-Balance IR” intuitive actually finds hidden dollars in your budget – allocating money away from the IR and SEC compliance products that don’t fuel growth (like XBRL) and reallocating those found dollars into communication products (like video) that will engage and drive investors to your company.
Have a great day.