Yahoo Finance Editor in Chief Andy Serwer Talks ‘Obstacles’ to Remote Streaming Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting

Yahoo Finance will exclusively stream the event Saturday for the fifth year in a row, but this time, it’s all remote

Warren Buffett will address a crowd expected to be in the tens of thousands during Saturday’s Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, like he does every year. Unlike every year, he’ll be the only person in the room. The whole thing is, like everything else, happening remotely.

For the fifth year in a row, Yahoo Finance has secured the exclusive streaming rights to the event, which has been dubbed “Woodstock for Capitalists” and regularly draws thousands to Omaha, Nebraska. Editor in chief Andy Serwer chatted with TheWrap Thursday about the obstacles and triumphs his team has found in preparation for the big day.

“We’re following all the CDC guidelines and keeping everyone on our team safe. That is the number one priority because we don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way. So, there are a lot of obstacles there in terms of, you know, ‘How do we actually figure out what’s going on on the ground in Omaha?'” said Serwer, whose team, up until two months ago, broadcasted largely from a studio in Manhattan. Now, like those at the other outlets, Yahoo Finance’s on-air talent is working from their homes.

Still, it was their early adoption of telecommuting that prepared them for the undertaking of remotely streaming programming around the shareholder meeting, as well as the address itself.

Teleconferencing calls done by Skype, Google Meetings or Zoom used to be “second-class citizens” on Yahoo Finance’s broadcasts, Serwer said. Now, however, “we really see that we can integrate — and we used Skype before — but now we realize that there’s a whole new world of opportunity that we can sort of take advantage of by using streaming tools.”

In March, Yahoo Finance saw 101.3 million monthly unique users, according to Comscore. There were 4.25 billion global page views, too, per Verizon Media Insights. Global page views were up 89% month over month as more and more people stayed home and sought out, as Serwer said, news about the coronavirus, yes, but also its impact on the economy, which is what Yahoo Finance focuses on. According to Comscore, there was 32% year-over-year audience growth.

As for what that audience — and any new viewers interested in what Warren Buffett has to say — can expect, Serwer predicts he won’t address the coronavirus directly, or at least won’t point fingers or forecast when the crisis might end. Instead, Serwer says, he’ll likely speak to the pandemic “in terms of fear and in terms of America’s greatness and about how we’re going to get through this. And in fact, it’s the endurance of the human spirit because, of course, it’s not just a problem in the United States. It’s pandemic. It’s a global issue and it speaks to the very nature of mankind, which is, you know, we face adversity and then, ultimately, we triumph.”

He also expects Buffett to address the effects on the stock market.

Lindsey Ellefson

Lindsey Ellefson

Media reporter • lindsey.ellefson@thewrap.com • Twitter: @ellefs0n



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