June 25, 2002 8:00 PM PDT

Yahoo cuts some broadcast services

Yahoo said Tuesday that it is shutting down several broadcast services, including its financial news program FinanceVision and Yahoo Radio.

The closures will result in fewer than 30 layoffs, said Henry Sohn, Yahoo's vice president and general manager for network services.

Yahoo has been refocusing its businesses after an early growth spurt that featured a string of pricey acquisitions, including a $5 billion stock purchase of Broadcast.com in 1999 that thrust the company into streaming services. That industry has suffered as harsh a downturn as many with the burst of the dot-com bubble, thanks to high expenses and a tough advertising market.

Yahoo flagged the broadcast division last year as an underperformer when the company unveiled a new structure aimed at streamlining its operations and generating non-advertising revenue.

"FinanceVision was advertising-driven, and that model ceased to be enough to support (it)," Sohn said. "The proposition to provide video broadcasting was a very different proposition than hosting Web pages with text."

Launched in 2000, FinanceVision meshed live and archived video news segments with stock charts and Web browsing, offering investors a hybrid source of financial news.

On the radio side, Yahoo has been shifting its branding efforts toward its Launch division since it acquired the online music service for $12 million in 2001. Yahoo said it will continue to run the Launch service.

The closure of Yahoo Radio comes after a closely watched ruling last week from the Librarian of Congress on Webcasting royalty rates. The ruling has been widely criticized by small Webcasters, many of which say it is too high and will force them to close.

Sohn said Yahoo Radio, which served as an aggregation point for offline radio stations, was unaffected by the royalty rate decision.

Yahoo appears to be pulling back on other broadcast services as well. Yahoo Broadcast's CD Jukebox service, which allows music artists to post MP3 versions of their songs, this week stopped accepting new submissions, according to a posting on the site.

News.com's Evan Hansen contributed to this report.

 

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