Although its future is still unknown, Yahoo is following through chief executive officer Marissa Mayer’s plans to focus on the four verticals of news, sports, finance and lifestyle. And, not dissimilar to other tech giants — Instagram and Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Apple TV and Amazon among them — its efforts are increasingly focused on video, in the form of both original video programming and video advertising.
In a private NewFronts event held earlier today, Yahoo shared updates with advertisers, some of which were shared in a blog post from chief revenue officer Lisa Utzschneider. In it, she wrote, “We have a focused strategy to bring the best short-form and live programming to our users, and opportunities for our advertisers.”
Utzschneider shared that video advertising was up 64 percent in 2015, and that video viewers on Yahoo are consuming 55 percent more videos and spending 85 percent more time with this content on average.
Video consumption among consumers overall is growing, so it makes sense that it would be one of the fastest-growing areas of digital advertising for Yahoo. The company produced 54 percent more video in 2015 than in 2014, and plans to increase its programming in the year ahead. It has studios in New York, Los Angeles and at its Sunnyvale headquarters and has so far produced more then 8,000 segments. These include news segments from Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, finance and tech content from David Pogue, live-streaming sporting events and style content from Joe Zee.
Video advertising comes from Yahoo’s ad tech platforms BrightRoll, which offers programmatic advertising, and Yahoo Gemini, which is focused on native and search advertising. In the post, Utzschneider emphasized that Yahoo is attractive to advertisers through its content (meaning its programming through the four verticals); its data (which helps advertisers better understand consumers so that they can target ads), and technology (meaning the way the ads are delivered).
Video is just one of the four most important areas of Yahoo’s business; Mayer refers to them as “MaVeNS,” which stands for mobile, video, native and social. In recent calls with investors, Mayer has stated that as Yahoo struggles to maintain relevance and increase revenue, it will simplify its business to focus on those segments. This year, it will have laid off 15 percent of its workforce and shuttered a number of its digital magazines, and folded the remaining ones into those four categories.
In the meantime, it is forging ahead to compete for advertising dollars. “This is just the beginning,” Utzschneider wrote. “There is more to come as we continue building our ad offerings and video content in our core verticals where we have a strong foothold and will continue to grow.”