Many are quick to downplay Yahoo’s relevance as Google and Facebook make large gains in revenue while Yahoo’s growth is relatively flat. They have been working hard to temper the charge from their competitors and announced their latest salvo yesterday by forging a larger partnership with ABC news.
Ross Levinsohn, EVP of the Americas at Yahoo!, intimated that he thinks the partnership can “revolutionize the online and digital news landscape. On the other side of the partnership, ABC News president, Ben Sherwood, wanted to do something “transformative.” It remains to be seen where the “revolutionary” and “transformative” shows itself in this equation as Sherwood even said himself that the network was already providing a quarter of the video streams on Yahoo! News.
Part of Yahoo’s strategy of late is to provide more exclusive video content and this partnership would certainly help if it extended to other parts of ABC beyond news. A byproduct of the relationship will be a new joint site for Good Morning America. This could lead to some interesting content opportunities on both the site and in the broadcast show if they do things right. Beyond that, they are looking to produce some more original series with news talent.
The reach of a combined 100 Million users each month that was touted in the press release is all fine and good if they manage the relationship properly and make full use of the available resources. There is already a concern about having both sales teams with a hand in the selling – supposedly ABC will handle sales as part of upfront and Yahoo! would handle all other sales.
Whatever excitement there might be over this, it is essentially deflated when watching the video they posted – you can see it through the link above – which leads you to wonder whether this deeper relationship was necessary. If Yahoo! was already showing the content and ABC has had its site around for so long, was there really much to gain from this? Could this just be the first step of ABC/Disney acquiring Yahoo! like it has been rumoured for over a decade? I think that’s probably not the case, but its interesting that they would forge such a formal relationship at this point. One thing is for sure, whether Yahoo! is desperate or not, at least they are making some decisions that at least make relative sense. They have to do something because their revenues that are higher than Facebook (for now) doesn’t get the buzz it might deserve and buzz is what it has become all about.