At Yahoo’s NewFront presentation at NYC’s Lincoln Center Monday, CEO Marissa Mayer told advertisers it intends to focus on the following areas of growth: mobile, social, native and video. The latter was the event’s primary focus and featured talent from new original comedies, editorial curators for its digital magazine business and, in a nod to Yahoo Live, a performance from Brooklyn-based band American Authors.
Regarding mobile, Mayer offered up a stat: “Last year time spent on digital media surpassed time spent with TV for the first time, boosted in large part by mobile engagement,” she told advertisers. The company’s social focus is “really about Tumblr,” she said. “The average post on Tumblr is reblogged 14 times,” while the average sponsor post is reblogged 10,000 times. Yahoo’s also embracing the native advertising trend. “Advertising should be every bit as good as the content itself,” and should at once be “aspirational,” “natural” and “enhance the experience.” And when it comes to video, digital is exploding. “While traditional TV consumption decreased 1 percent over the past year, online video was up 28 percent. Mobile video was up 38 percent,” she told the crowd.
According to Mayer, Yahoo’s focus is on 3 big themes: “building a mobile-centered product to be wherever our users are,” bringing world-class personalization technologies to video and producing exceptional content. “Now users expect online content to be as good as content on TV,” she said, and 4 types of content are driving and capitalizing this trend: Yahoo Originals, Yahoo Live, digital magazines and Yahoo Premium.
Programming announcements within those 4 categories include 2 new original comedies. Creator of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig will create a galactic-themed series “Other Space,” and executive producer Mike Tollin (“One Tree Hill,” “Smallville”) and director Bryan Gordon (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) are making a comedy about the front office of a fictional pro-basketball team, “Sin City Saints.”
Under the Yahoo Live umbrella and in partnership with Live Nation, “We’re going to stream 1 full live concert every day for an entire year,” CMO Kathy Savitt announced. The company will make 1,200 of the events’ best songs available on demand for months after the live shows air and will air hundreds of artist videos. Yahoo is also partnering with the NFL to create a digital experience called NFL Now, with highlights, live stats and analysis.
On the news and information front, the company launched Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Food digital magazines in January and announced its newest mag during the event: Yahoo Travel. It will include native advertising, sponsored articles and videos, sharable stories and more. The first sponsors are Las Vegas and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. News anchor Katie Couric announced 2 new series: “World 3.0” looks at disruptive and innovative entrepreneurs and “Now I Get It,” which uses explanatory video journalism to help people understand the issues of the day.
Other announcements for advertisers include video and rich media experiences for the Yahoo login page and digital magazines, in the form of full page video login ads with a 15-second video and splash ads incorporated into digital magazines when viewed from tablets and PCs. They’ll be available in the coming weeks. Yahoo also announced a partnership with comScore, which this summer will enable Yahoo advertisers to access its vCE audience-validation metric, meant to simplify workflow in areas such as tagging and monitoring campaigns in order to make adjustments to ads more rapidly.