Yahoo needs to be bold.
So far Mayer adjusted the business the best she knew how:
- revamping Web pages
- improving mobile applications
- unifying ad delivery via Gemini
- brightroll and flurry acquisitions
- Acquiring talent
But these were basics improvements to an enterprise that was left to linger and whither by the old guard.
Evidence of the improvements are present with the year over year revenue growth. But it’s coming at a cost. And the lack of new-age perception is just daunting.
Her attempts at being bold and different are not panning out. How are the functions of the mobile apps different from the web site, albeit more aesthetically pleasing?
Some of her wants:
Katy Couric and the slew of ‘magazines’ with high profile editors. The strategy is from the old-age media play book. The new age is to have great content but with the ability to leverage social. Regardless of platform, so a target audience can be reached.
BuzzFeed comes to mind. Pay up for them, let them run on their own. Leverage their platform for distribution and targeting. (And of course their content across the Yahoo properties.)
BuzzFeed would give reach to the younger audience, more importantly knows how to communicate to that audience, but also would be a true social play and adds to native advertising.
Screen is nice and get a lot of monthly views. Brightroll was a good acquisition, but with Screen, Yahoo has more of a desire with video. Especially as it’s the V in MaVeNS. Here Yahoo can enact a transaction business. Pay up for Hulu. Leverage the hundreds of millions of free eyeballs for monthly fees. Especially as over-the-top-tv comes to pass.
I think I am one of only a few that think Yahoo is doing okay here. The sport apps are nice and they got into the transaction side of the business. My only complaint is that some of their original content is hard to find when inside Yahoo properties. They have to keep executing here.
After giving the Yahoo Finance app a second chance, I am became a fan. From a new aggregator perspective, and ad biz, I think it’s great. But Yahoo needs to be bold, and do more. There is no sense of community via it’s mobile app. Where can conversations take place like the web message boards? (The Daily Fantasy App recently implemented a chat function. The other apps should do the same.) Leverage Yahoo’s messaging capabilities. SeekingAlpha has a community. Pay up for it.
Another way to be bold is to add a transactional revenue line to finance. Pay up for the new ways of investing, companies like Motifinvesting, if they can.
Livetxt is interesting. But I would like to see them add chat function across their mobile properties. Enable communities. With all logged in users, each should have a messaging capability. Use it to provide comments on everything within the Yahoo properties, and a separate messaging app. (Even if it’s a Whatsapp clone.) Or pay up for a company like Kik. Keep it stand alone, while embedding it across properties.
Yahoo is improving. It’s just not improving bold enough to matter to the influencers or Wall Street. They will have a ton of money soon, and there are plenty of ways to become truly powerful again. Yahoo just needs to be bold to do it.