A NEW service aims to improve the reach and economics of executives’ investor presentations by distributing them on the popular Yahoo! Finance website and exposing them to bloggers and their audiences.
Seeking Alpha, an aggregator of finance commentary from over 200 bloggers, is offering to transcribe companies’ presentations at investor conferences and distribute them on Yahoo! Finance and on its own website SeekingAlpha.com. Companies can sponsor presentation transcripts themselves or investor relations firms can do so on their behalf.
“IROs and IR firms are constantly telling me that they’re looking for ways to tell their story to targeted groups of investors online,” said Ezra Marbach, Seeking Alpha’s Director, Client Services, in an email.
“We’re negotiating with a number of conferences to have us transcribe their presenting company presentations and post the transcripts on Seeking Alpha. Due to our deal with Yahoo! Finance these transcripts go out on the Yahoo! stock pages as well. This exponentially increases the number of investors who hear the presenting company’s story,” he adds.
Bang for the buck
Companies, particularly mid- and small-cap companies with limited research coverage can pay conference organizers thousands of dollars to appear at their events. Even when they are invited to conferences, companies pay their own way and preparation and travel can consume valuable time.
Meanwhile, most investor presentations currently reach only a limited audience of attendees and web listeners and viewers. The quality of attendees is often also a bone of contention with IROs.
“At conferences you’re lucky to get a couple of savvy investors in a room to listen to your story,” says Marbach.
The added reach of Seeking Alpha’s distribution will potentially deliver more bang for companies’ buck by substantially increasing the target audience for executives’ presentations.
Biggest, most influential finance audience
Yahoo! Finance commands the biggest finance audience on the Web. It is the market leader with 13.7 million unique users in October 2006, according to researcher Nielsen Net Ratings.
Yahoo! Finance’s audience is also the most influential, with 65% of porfolio managers in a Thomson Financial survey last year saying they use it as a source when researching investments. The next most popular source was Thomsom’s Thomson One service with 51% audience penetration, while Bloomberg professional had 33% penetration.
Seeking Alpha signed a deal last September with Yahoo! Finance to provide filtered blog posts to the site. Seeking Alpha content is included in Yahoo! Finance’s news section and on company profile pages. Here is an example of a presentation transcript on Yahoo! Finance for Ballantyne of Omaha, a small theater, lighting and restaurant supply firm.
In addition, presentations are also posted to Seeking Alpha’s website. Marbach says in his email that “thousands of institutional investors and hundreds of thousands of retail investors” read SeekingAlpha.com daily. Here’s an example of Ballantyne of Omaha’s transcript sponsored by IR firm Joffoni & Collins.
Companies also stand to benefit from exposing their company to investment bloggers who may have influence over small but loyal audiences.
Really a marketing tool?
Transcripts of presentations are fundamentally more useful to researchers than audio or video. They enable users to more easily consume and reuse the information.
However, a gray slab of text that scrolls several screens is not a particularly alluring or efficient way to attract investor interest, so the value of a transcript as a marketing device to prospective investors is questionable. Some editing and creativity would do wonders here.
Nonetheless, companies that make an effort to transcribe their presentations do make life easier for people who already follow them, especially those who are inclined to pass on information to others, such as sell-side analysts, journalists and finance bloggers. Transcripts can therefore build goodwill and spread awareness of the company.
Companies looking for a way to attract interest or spread the word about their companies should consider Seeking Alpha’s presentation transcripts. But be mindful that it is an unproven service that should be evaluated for effectiveness and cost.