Online video is “a huge opportunity” and Yahoo needs “a terrific platform”, CEO Marissa Mayer told analysts in a conference call today. She wouldn’t say specifically how much she plans to spend, but over the next year the company will focus on its technology while it also cuts content deals similar to the one it recently made to become the exclusive home for the Saturday Night Live archives. ”Video was new for us last year and performed very well,” Mayer says. She describes the content strategy as being like a pyramid. In addition to landing established hits, Yahoo also will invest in its original web productions — such as reality series Burning Love and comedy Ghost Ghirls — as it also encourages users to submit self-produced videos. “A minority will be our own original programming, the majority will be through partnerships” and revenue sharing deals with established producers she says. She’s enthusiastic because “advertisers really like it.” They demonstrated that with orders after Yahoo’s presentation at this year’s NewFronts, digital video providers’ effort to win ad dollars from broadcast and cable networks that kick off their sales season with their spring upfront presentations. “We did see a lot of interest … it was a successful event for us,” she says.
UPDATE, 1:27 PM: Yahoo‘s spin machine will be hard at work today and tomorrow trying to persuade investors that CEO Marissa Mayer isn’t wildly overpaying for Tumblr. Although the social media service has become red hot — it averages about 75.8M posts a day — it generated just $12M in revenue last year and hopes for $100M this year, Forbes says. CEO David Karp began to sell ads for the site just a year ago. Yahoo has more than enough cash to make the deal. Still, Mayer could use Wall Street’s support for the biggest acquisition that she has made since taking charge in July. Her company’s shares have appreciated about 33% so far this year because Yahoo’s investments in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and Yahoo Japan have been doing so well. Sales of display ads, which have been key for Yahoo, continued to disappoint in Q1. Tumblr, whose average user is under 25, could help Yahoo make more connections with young Web users. But it also could complicate Yahoo’s sales message due to Tumblr’s comparatively lax views about hosting porn, BusinessWeek notes.
The talk about Tumblr could eclipse some additional news Yahoo plans to make tomorrow: It has scheduled a press conference to unveil updates to its Flickr photo-sharing service, Bloomberg reports.
UPDATE 10:55 AM: Yahoo board has greenlighted buying the social network in a billion-dollar-plus deal that could be announced as early as tomorrow
No surprise about who topped the list of 2012′s highest paid CEOs at the media companies whose compensation practices I track most closely. (See here for an explanation). CBS’ Les Moonves returns to the head of the pack with $62.2M, even though his package was 11.1% smaller than it was in 2011. That was an anomaly: The top 20 collectively made $542.7M, up from $416.6M in 2011, according to company proxy statements filed at the SEC. It took $25.9M to crack the Top 10 — last year Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt made it with $16.4M. The most notable change in this year’s list vs 2011 is the jump by Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei to No. 2 from No. 28 as his company adjusted stock options just in case the feds change the corporate deduction this year for performance-based compensation.
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer also joins the top 10 following her move there from Google. Her appearance also highlights a quirk in this year’s list which has more CEOs than companies: Yahoo had three CEOs last year (Mayer is still there) and there were two apiece at Sirius XM (James Meyer replaced Mel Karmazin) and Cinemark (Tim Warner is now in charge). Also, remember that this list just includes corporate CEOs, not division chiefs or board chairs. I’ll be back soon with a list of the highest-paid media execs. The numbers on the right are the amount in millions of dollars for the total compensation as reported by each company.
Here’s our list of 2012′s highest-paid media CEOs:
Not bad for six months of work. To be fair, though, the tally includes $14M in restricted stock units to replace some of the compensation that Marissa Mayer forfeited in July when she left Google to take the top …
The board picked author and investor Maynard Webb Jr to serve as interim chairman. And the number of directors will soon drop to 10 from 11: Fred Amaroso says that he won’t seek reelection to …
Revenue from display ads fell 11% year over year, Yahoo said today in reporting first-quarter earnings, and overall declining sales for a second quarter in a row had the stock down about 4% after hours before bouncing back slightly. …
Marissa Mayer largely spoke in vague generalities about her plans for Yahoo in her first quarterly conversation with analysts since she became CEO in July. She promised to make Yahoo “a growth company by inspiring and delighting our users.” She wants people to turn to Yahoo as a daily habit, for example when they search the Web or communicate. The former Google exec says that search is “the top priority for Yahoo” and she plans to “make organic investments to grow market share.” While there’s “disappointment” in the results from the partnership with Microsoft, she has no plans to change the alliance. Meanwhile, look for a revamp of Yahoo Mail and Messenger, as well as its home page to “make it more compelling.” Personalization will be key. “We just scratched the surface,” she says. Another top priority is to develop a “focused, coherent mobile strategy.” She acknowledged that Yahoo “hasn’t capitalized on the mobile opportunity.” It spent too little on services and allowed its product offerings to be “splintered.”
This marks the most significant hire to date for CEO Marissa Mayer, who last month named Ken Goldman CFO. For this one she went back to her old stomping ground at Google to snatch Henrique de Castro, who was VP of Google’s worldwide Partner Business Solutions group, where he was responsible for advertising platforms and services for Google’s publisher and commerce partners. Before that, he helped grow Google’s media, mobile and platforms division. Here’s Yahoo’s release:
The deal that the companies struck in May cuts in half Yahoo‘s 40% stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant. But it leaves a big question unanswered: What will Yahoo do with the cash? The company initially said it would return “substantially all” of the proceeds to shareholders. Last month, CEO Marissa Mayer — who took the top job in July — said that she’s rethinking “our restructuring plan, our share repurchase program” and the Alibaba repayment promise as she weighs options to revive the struggling Internet content giant. Yahoo shares are down 2.3% so far in 2012. Here’s today’s announcement about the sale:
It would have been awkward for former Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn to have stayed after Yahoo passed him over and named former Google exec Marissa Mayer to the top job. But he’ll be nicely compensated for his …
So much for all the talk last week about interim CEO Ross Levinsohn landing the top job on a more secure basis. Mayer, 37, was the 20th employee at Google — and emerged as one of the company’s most prominent representatives. An engineer, she was credited with developing the look and feel of its most popular products including Google Maps. But her path to the top seemed blocked by the presence of Google’s co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The news of her appointment sent Yahoo shares up about 2% in after-market trading. Investors shouldn’t expect miracles: Yahoo has been struggling to find its place in the Internet advertising universe against Google and Facebook and other content providers. The company has been seen as a jack of all trades, with several compelling services — but no clear mission. The company’s stock has lost about 41% of its value over the last five years and has been stagnant lately. Last year the company ousted Carol Bartz from the top job. Her successor, Scott Thompson, was forced out in May after a dissident shareholder disclosed that he had exaggerated his college credentials. Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb, who led the attacks on Yahoo’s management, was added to the board along with two colleagues after he threatened to wage a proxy fight. Here’s today’s release: