Yahoo has set a Monday news conference in NY to announce “something special”, and CBNC says that CEO Marissa Mayer will be there. Could the news be that it is acquiring the social network Tumblr? Reports surfaced last night that Yahoo is mulling a deal to buy or invest in the youth-skewing blogging site, and AllThingsD, which broke the news, says Yahoo’s board is meeting tomorrow to consider an all-cash buy for $1.1B. If the deal makes it would be the biggest yet for Mayer as she looks to boost the fortunes of the company, which is still in transformation mode. Yahoo has acquired mostly small startups since she took over last July, and a potential big deal to buy a controlling stake in French video site Dailymotion was scotched by the French government earlier this month. Last month, Yahoo reported declining ad sales for the second fiscal quarter in a row, with revenue from display ads falling 11% year over year, and it reduced its revenue guidance for the current second quarter.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BFI; ‘Doctor Who’; Yahoo & Dailymotion; Ukraine Piracy; Cineworld-Picturehouse; Televix; Universal & Canada’s D Films
BFI Lays Out Development Funding Recipients
The British Film Institute has identified 20 UK production companies that will receive BFI Vision Awards 2013-15. The grants will provide up to £200K over two years to the companies for investment in slate development. The BFI said the successful companies each demonstrated “a clear strategic vision for their future growth as well as a commitment to nurturing a diverse range of new voices and fresh ideas from across the UK.” There were 170 applicants overall. The project is part of the BFI’s Film Forever plan to foster growth in the UK film biz and keep momentum going after a strong series of local films. Among the companies receiving £100K are 42 M&P (Welcome To The Punch), Cowboy Films (The Last King Of Scotland), Independent (We Need To Talk About Kevin); Warp Films (Submarine) and Wildgaze Films (Quartet). Among those receiving £50K are Inflammable Films (Tyrannosaur), JW Films (Attack The Block), Rook Films (Sightseers) and animation companies Blue-Zoo, Flickerpix. The full list is here.
‘Doctor Who’ Gets New Exec Producer; Opens Pop-Up Shop
Brian Minchin is joining Doctor Who as its new executive producer alongside showrunner Steven Moffat. Minchin is an exec producer in BBC Wales drama, currently working on The Game, a new Cold War spy thriller for BBC One. He had previously been a script editor on both Doctor Who and Torchwood. Separately, the BBC says the first ever Doctor Who pop-up store will open its doors in Sydney, Australia this fall. It will feature exclusive merchandise including the Doctor Who home range, apparel, toys, DVDs, books and replica props.
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 web portal today announced a slate of new programming initiatives during its upfront-style NewFront event. Those include a new network partnership with WWE launching a new Yahoo WWE online hub hosting exclusive Monday Night Raw pre-show content, two new weekly 50-episode series per year, exclusive live events, archival content, and current show clips launching this summer. Yahoo will also host digital-only versions of ABC News’ World News Behind The Headlines, Nightline Online, GMA Live, and CNBC’s Talking Numbers. New comedy shows in Yahoo’s fall comedy lineup include Principato-Young Entertainment‘s Tiny Commando with Ed Helms, Zachary Levi and Gillian Jacobs; the Morgan Spurlock & John Stamos-exec produced Losing Your Virginity With John Stamos celeb interview show; and We Need Help with Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris, produced by Principato-Young and Steve Carr and directed by Hines. Episodes from Yahoo’s fall comedy lineup will be released at once a la Netflix’s “binge viewing” strategy. Fashion Recipe, Cinema & Spice, and an unnamed grilling show were named to Yahoo’s new lifestyle programming. A new Saturday Night Live deal distributing current-season clips and archival clips beginning September 1 was announced last week. Below are descriptions of Yahoo’s comedy lineup:
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. …
The stock price is up 3.7% in post market trading after Yahoo released what appears to be a reassuring report — at least in relation to expectations — on its Q4 performance. The company generated net earnings of $272M, …
Black, as well as Jake Johnson, Molly Shannon, Jason Schwartzman and other celebrities, are set to make cameo appearances in Ghost Ghirls, a comedic take on popular paranormal procedurals like Medium and Ghost Whisperer. The project, originally developed as a TV series for Syfy last year, chronicles the antics of two young female ghostbusters, played by Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci (two-women improv show BEANS!) — a pair of investigators attempting to solve the mysteries behind paranormal phenomena. At the same time, they attempt to convince their clients, other-worldly visitors and themselves that they are legit.
Yahoo and NBC Sports Group are teaming in a content and promotional deal combining Yahoo Sports original reporting, coverage of big events and other content with NBC Sports Group’s expanding digital assets. Deal includes significant television promotion and integration. Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports Group will maintain separate sites and editorial control but they will collaborate on premium sports news and events coverage both online and on TV broadcasts. Yahoo Sports products will be included in the NBC Sports Groups digital assets.
CBS Television Distribution has signed a deal with Yahoo to combine their celebrity/entertainment news entities The Insider and omg!, respectively. Under the deal, CTD’s syndicated entertainment newsmagazine The Insider will be renamed omg! Insider in January 2013 to become “a multiplatform entertainment news series.” Kevin Frazier and Brooke Anderson will continue to host the TV show, as well as such Yahoo talent as Kristen Aldridge (omg! NOW) and Michael Yo (The Yo Show on Yahoo!). In addition, Yahoo!’s omg! entertainment news site, visited by nearly 30 million users each month, will be the exclusive home to video provided by the TV show. Online, Yahoo’s omg! will provide continually updated coverage, including video clips, celebrity interviews, photo galleries, editorial and several interactive social features. On air each evening, the TV show will offer a mix of informal in-studio conversations with celebrities and personality-driven discussions around the day’s hottest topics and trends.
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.”
Rodolphe Belmer Ascends At Canal Plus
Rodolphe Belmer has been appointed to the board the Canal Plus Group and named director general of the company. The executive, No. 2 at France’s dominant pay-TV company, was formerly deputy director general. Among his functions will be oversight of the free and pay-TV activities of Canal Plus in France as well as other activities. He will not, however, oversee international expansion or film-related activities which will remain under president Bertrand Meheut. According to Le Monde, Meheut, whose mandate at Canal Plus chief ends at the end of 2014, has been preparing his succession for several months. Belmer has been second in command at Canal since 2003 and recently oversaw the acquisition of free-to-air channels Direct 8 and Direct Star from the Bolloré group.
Yahoo To Bow Out Of South Korea
Yahoo Inc’s South Korean operation said today it will exit the country, underscoring its struggle against Google, Facebook and local competitors expanding aggressively into mobile advertising and online services. South Korea is the first Asian country Yahoo is leaving. Yahoo Korea, which started business in 1997 and is wholly owned by the U.S. search company, has around 200-250 employees in South Korea. It will terminate Korean online portal services in December. In the South Korean market, it has failed to beat local rivals such as NHN Corp, Daum Communications Corp and SK Communications Co.
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:
SUNNYVALE, Calif.– Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) today announced that Ken Goldman will join the company as chief financial officer (CFO), effective Oct. 22. In this role, he will be responsible for Yahoo!’s global finance functions including financial planning and analysis, controllership, tax, treasury, and investor relations. Goldman will report directly to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.
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: