Yahoo live earnings 2

Yahoo! struck fear in the hearts of CEOs everywhere by live streaming their quarterly earnings announcement. “Will I have to be on camera too?”

It was a bit awkward, but they pulled it off and scored points for being innovative. Beyond just a novelty, this is a milestone in the steady march of video content into mainstream business communications. This event demonstrates the extra value we all inherently see in communicating with video.

Earnings calls are a big deal for any public company. Every word is important, both from what it tells investors and from how accurately it portrays the company’s financial situation. The current standard for earnings announcements is live audio. Investors tune in so they can get more than what a written press release offers them. They can ask questions or just as importantly observe how the business leaders respond to questions asked by others.

Video takes transparency to another level. Business leaders have to not only speak, they have to make eye contact. They are exposing not just their voice to close scrutiny; now body language is in the mix. CFOs will be having flop-sweat nightmares.

I’m curious to see how other public companies respond to Yahoo!’s bold step. Soon investment analysts everywhere may be popping popcorn and taking their earnings calls from their home theaters.