Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer still chasing growth in 4th year of turnaround

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Yahoo signs advertising pact with Google; earnings and revenue miss.

Yahoo Inc said on Tuesday it had signed a search advertising deal with Google Inc, providing a potential boost to Marissa Mayer’s efforts to turn around the company, which also reported revenue and profit that fell short of market estimates.SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer said the struggling Internet pioneer will see a new, narrower focus – and a partnership with rival Google – following a disappointing quarter.With revenue after fees paid to partner Web sites falling to $1 billion, Mayer announced on Tuesday a search-ad agreement with Google to augment an existing deal with Microsoft.

The company on Tuesday reported its biggest quarterly sales drop since 2009 and gave a fourth-quarter revenue forecast that missed analysts’ estimates. Yahoo, whose shares were down 1.6 percent in after-hours trading, said the companies have agreed to delay implementation of the deal in the United States to allow the antitrust division of the Department of Justice to review it. Yahoo also said the planned spinoff of its stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. may not be completed until January, later than a prior target of year’s end. Yahoo said it expected fourth-quarter revenue of $1.16 billion-$1.20 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.33 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. “We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core (advertising) business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said on a call with analysts.

Mayer has been chasing sales growth by adding services for smartphones and tablets, new tools for advertisers and premium content to attract audiences and marketers. She also said that another key priority is spinning off the Yahoo! stake in Alibaba, though there are uncertainties about how US tax authorities will treat the deal. Yet Yahoo has failed to hold onto advertising market share in key areas such as mobile, where rivals such as Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. have gained ground. Yahoo earlier this year sought a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to confirm whether the transaction, worth about $27 billion currently, would result in a tax obligation.

It may be easier to gain the government’s approval this time because Yahoo’s share of the Internet search market has shrunk during the past seven years. Under the deal, which follows a similar arrangement with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Google will pay Yahoo! a percentage of the revenues from ads on Yahoo! and affiliated sites. Yahoo!’s profits in the September quarter plunged 99 percent to $76 million, or 8 cents per share, although the drop reflected a tough comparison with the year-ago sale of a big chunk of Alibaba shares.

Google’s search engine, though, still processes about two out of every three search requests in the U.S., roughly the same volume as it did when the Justice Department originally objected to a Yahoo partnership. Apart from the Google deal, the only other good news came results came from Yahoo’s emerging businesses, which Mayer calls Mavens – mobile, video, native and social advertising. While awaiting clearance to team up with Yahoo, Mayer is pledging to trim the company’s expenses as revenue declines, and concentrate the remaining workforce on fewer products. “We see a unique moment and opportunity for Yahoo as we move into 2016 to narrow our strategy and focus on fewer products with higher quality to achieve better growth and better results,” Mayer said during a review of the third-quarter results. Google’s offerings on desktops and smartphones will complement the search services provided by Microsoft Corp., which remains a strong partner, as well as Yahoo’s own search technologies and ad products, the company said. On Tuesday, Yahoo projected fourth-quarter sales, excluding revenue shared with partner websites, of $920 million to $960 million, short of analysts’ average prediction of $1.08 billion.

Traffic acquisition costs, the amount Yahoo spends to attract users to its websites, jumped to $223 million in the quarter from $54 million a year earlier. Investors are now focused on the fate of Yahoo’s plan to place its remaining Alibaba holdings — 384 million shares currently worth about $28 billion — into a new company called Aabaco Holdings.

Mayer also has lost several executives, including Jacqueline Reses, Yahoo’s chief development officer, who had shifted her focus this year to the Alibaba share sale. Despite that setback, Yahoo Inc. is still planning to complete the spin-off by next year with the expectation that it will qualify as a tax-free maneuver. In addition, the Web portal is letting people turn off the requirement to enter a password, and instead giving them the option to verify their identity via the application. Still, some analysts doubt these initiatives will be enough to reverse the company’s trajectory. “She’s focused on product, but nothing material has come of it,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B.

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Search every video-streaming service with Yahoo’s new app

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Yahoo Video Guide app for iOS & Android offers universal search across streaming services.

Yahoo’s new iOS app will have viewers spending less time searching through streaming apps to find something to watch, and more time actually watching.Yahoo today is hoping to capitalize on the cord-cutting trend and consumers’ growing attachment to streaming video services with the launch of a new app called Yahoo Video Guide.Time Inc. said Thursday that it had added Hulu, Yahoo and Zealot Networks to the ranks of outlets that will distribute its growing amount of original video. The app, available now on iOS and Android, will help you find new movies and TV shows to watch on HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other services, then allow you to launch titles directly in the video apps you already have installed on your smartphone.

Yahoo Video Guide allows you to find TV shows and movies that are streaming on more than 30 services and you can search them to stream on Xfinity, YouTube, Showtime, Amazon Instant Video, HBO, Hulu, NetFlix and much more. Other partners in Time Inc.’s video network include Amazon/Amazon Video Shorts, CBS Local Digital Media, Gannett/USA Today, Vessel’s Video Service and Nextstar Broadcasting, AOL/AOLon, Cinesport, Scripps/ULive and Tout. While in the cable TV era, consumers had on-screen guides that would tell them what shows were on which channels and when, modern-day streaming services often fall short on their recommendations. Just look at the results from the second quarter of this year: The Pay-TV sector lost 566,000 customers in the United States with an annual rate of shrinkage of 0.7 percent, compared to 0.1 percent a year ago, according to analyst Craig Moffett.

Time Inc. plans include expanding the network internationally. “The goal is telling stories in video and take them to as wide an audience as possible,” said J.R. Though Netflix has steadily tried to improve its recommendation algorithm over the years, the user interface on its service – and on many of its competitors – still tends to push its featured and exclusive content instead of more personalized suggestions.

So as more people are converting to streaming services, there has to be a way to find out what’s being shown on which service and app — enter Yahoo’s Video Guide. For example, it didn’t even take 30 seconds for finding the Hobbit film available for streaming on TBS app, renting the sequel on iTunes or Amazon and finding its third installment being streamed on HBO Go. However, the implementation is a little gimmicky – you browse through GIFs that match your mood and the app will make recommendations based on fit, the company says.

However, it’s undeniable that Yahoo, despite all its corporate woes, still has a huge microphone, and is capable of funneling lots of its users to its various apps and properties — and as the number of streaming services is growing, it’s likely that some of Yahoo’s users will appreciate some hand-holding. There are mobile banners on the free version of Can I Stream It?, and you have to pay $1.99 for the Pro version that lets you search through just the services you subscribe to.

Yahoo said that its Video Guide app works with the major video streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, ABC, FOX, A&E, AMC, Disney Channel, Spike, TNT, USA, PBS, Amazon, Apple, and Google Play. It does not do anything with user-generated content pulled from YouTube or Vimeo, nor is Yahoo’s own content included (sorry, no Saturday Night Live unless it comes from somewhere else). On the app’s homescreen you can browse through featured suggestions (i.e., new and popular titles), or tab over to “Movies” or “Shows” to filter your options by content type. The app also integrates Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and includes standard details like a text description, release year, industry rating, length, and details on cast, directors, writers, and more.

These aren’t meant to be personalization features — in fact, at launch, the app doesn’t offer any of this capability, just basic recommendation features. There are now a variety of smaller services where TV shows, movies and other original videos can be found – like Watchable, go90, Stream, Sling TV, Noggin, Feeln, Tubi TV, Vimeo, Pluto TV, Vessel, SeeSo, and more – but not all these apps include these niche services. In a time when people have an average of three or more of these services, such as Netflix, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime, we’ve reached a “tipping point where people are daisy-chaining a bunch of apps together to get the videos they want,” he said. But the real challenge for the app is getting people to change their behavior – meaning, launching a third-party app instead of just hitting up their top video services directly. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that helps p… read more »

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