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Yahoo! launches ShoppingVision

Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com), announced the launch of ShoppingVision, a streaming media extension of Yahoo! Shopping. ShoppingVision combines streaming video content with the ability to simultaneously find more information and buy the product featured in the video. This model of streaming media interactivity was first introduced through Yahoo! FinanceVision in March 2000.

ShoppingVision launches a separate Web page with an embedded streaming video player and adjacent data window that displays information and links for products as they appear in the video segment. The Web page automatically detects the connection speed for delivery and the default player on a user's computer, supporting both Windows Media and Real formats.

FinanceVision enables users to look up relevant stock or corporate information in conjunction with viewing streaming news segments, however there were no e-commerce capabilities. Yahoo! has not released any numbers relating to the audience of FinanceVision, but maintains that the audience has grown substantially from its launch in March 2000.

The current content on ShoppingVision has been produced both in-house and by outside partners. Yahoo! announced content and distribution deals with ValueVision International, a home shopping network, and TechTV, (formally ZDTV) an on-air and online destination dedicated to the digital lifestyle. ValueVision is providing a simultaneous stream of its cable content which can be accessed anytime via a link embedded next to the video player. TechTV is also promoted with a prominently embedded button that leads users to an archive of video product reviews. According to Henry Sohn, VP of Financial Services at Yahoo!, Yahoo! is looking to aggregate as much content as possible, including informational videos from product manufactures. Sohn indicated that Yahoo! would make it very clear to the end user when the content was produced by manufactures versus third party reviewers such as TechTV.

In these tight times for e-commerce companies, streaming media presents an opportunity to break out of the static catalogue model. Sites have been adding various rich media tricks to enrich the consumers experience from animated gifs, to 3D product models that can be turned and zoomed in real time. Yahoo!'s initiative takes it one step further with the integration of video into an e-commerce environment.

"Yahoo! ShoppingVision combines Yahoo!'s strength as a leading enabler of Web transactions and our expertise in distributing streaming video content to one of the world's largest broadband audiences," said Sohn. "Yahoo! ShoppingVision also provides retailers new merchandising opportunities and a novel way to interact with their customers while enabling commerce."

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