Verizon revealed its plans for Yahoo Finance in a meeting with ad-industry insiders, and they include testing a $55-a-month subscription service


Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer and BlackRock Global Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income Rick Rieder attend the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on October 25, 2017 in New York City.

  • Yahoo Finance is about to launch a new subscription service that it’s beta testing at monthly prices of $35 to $55.
  • That’s less than half the previously reported amount of $100 a month.
  • Parent company Verizon Media Group shared the details along with other company initiatives at a recent meeting with its Agency Advisory Council, a small group of top agency execs.
  • One attendee expressed concern about Yahoo Finance’s other big bet, an expansion into free live video, recalling the similar HuffPost Live video service that was shuttered back in 2016.

Yahoo Finance is trying to crack the investor market with a new subscription service, Yahoo Finance Premium, that it’s beta-testing at prices of $35 to $55 a month.

Verizon Media Group, the Verizon unit that Yahoo Finance belongs to, shared the details of the service along with other news last week at a meeting of the Verizon Media Agency Advisory Council, a gathering of more than a dozen top agency execs that Verizon periodically hosts to share updates with and seek feedback from.

The meeting covered the gamut of Verizon Media’s strategy, from ad products to subscription services to premium content plans, and was meant to send the message that Verizon the corporate parent is fully committed to its media arm, according to attendees. The unit has been recently laying off staff and losing value since Verizon spent $10 billion to acquire AOL and Yahoo and in 2017.

Axios first reported on Yahoo Finance Premium back in November. According to that report, the service was likely to cost $100 a month and it would be aimed at retail investors, with access to premium financial data tools, data sets, and industry research.

According to an attendee, Yahoo Finance has been trying to find a sweet spot for pricing the service, and believes a market exists for a premium product costing around $50 a month. This person spoke on the condition of anonymity, as attendees signed NDAs to not speak about the meeting.

A second attendee wondered about the product being too niche. “It’s interesting for the investment community, the day traders. Where is the personal finance? It’s so finite that it’s limiting. It also didn’t strike me as cheap.”

On top of the paid content, Joanna Lambert, GM over finance and tech, told the gathering that Yahoo Finance also expanded to eight hours of daily, free, live market coverage, according to Verizon Media’s recap of the meeting that was viewed by Business Insider.

Yahoo Finance just started shooting the coverage out of a new studio at its New York headquarters and was throwing a party the evening of April 2 to celebrate its opening.

Read more: Employees at HuffPost began receiving layoff notices a day after Verizon announced it would slash staff at its media group by 7%

The first attendee expressed skepticism about the live video, as it’s mainly being streamed on Yahoo’s site and not more widely distributed to all the places people find video content now. 

Verizon Media said in notes summarizing the meeting that it’s considering extending Yahoo Finance Live to Pluto TV, where its competition already is. A spokeswoman for Verizon said any reference to Pluto was purely illustrative and that there have been no formal conversations between Verizon and the streaming service.

The way Verizon executives described the live service also brought to mind sibling site HuffPost Live, which offered eight hours of live programming a day but never really took off and was shuttered in 2016 after four years. (By that time, HuffPost was part of Verizon.)

“And these are the guys who brought you HuffPo Live!” the first attendee said.

It’s also unclear if audiences still think of these sites as destinations, the second attendee said.

The backdrop is that Verizon Media, along with many media companies, is trying to launch consumer-paid products and services that will give the companies another revenue stream outside of advertising. Already, Verizon Media’s TechCrunch two months ago launched Extra Crunch, a $15 per month service consisting of content, coverage, product and events for hard-core users. 

Verizon Media’s Yahoo Sports is leaning into fantasy and online betting

Along with Yahoo Finance, Verizon Media shared its strategy for Yahoo Sports. Geoff Reiss, GM over sports, told the group that Yahoo Sports was leaning into fantasy by developing a portfolio of fantasy games. The unit also is exploring now-legalized online betting.

Some attendees asked about the potential negative societal impact of sports betting. “The optics are lousy,” one said. Verizon said in its summary notes of the meeting that in terms of online betting, it wanted to take a “proactive and responsible leadership position.”

Attendees asked about Go90, Verizon’s mobile video service that shut down in 2018; and Yahoo’s eSports, which shut down after Verizon acquired Yahoo in 2017. Verizon executives acknowledged that eSports struggled with the general esports challenge of users blocking ads at a high rate.

SEE ALSO: Verizon’s betting big on Yahoo Finance, but the site’s built on a cohort of ‘permalancers’ that former employees say is demoralizing and bad for business

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