Yahoo shutters video ad network service

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 30, 2009 · Short URL:

CEO Carol Bartz on a roll to ditch properties

 (Updated: 12 PST to incorporate comment from Yahoo)

Just 17 months after buying video ad network for $160 million, Maven Networks, Yahoo plans to wind down its publisher relationships it had with Maven Networks. 

Maven Networks provided hosting, content management and advertising for large media properties.

But that business is no longer a priority to Yahoo.

While Yahoo's current video player and advertising platform are based off of Maven, according to Brian Nelson, Yahoo spokesperson,Yahoo will not focus on serving large media properties. Rather Yahoo will focus on its own properties and a few other off-network properties, such as The Newspaper Consortium.

Despite what other news sources are reporting, Yahoo has not laid off a bulk of employees brought to Yahoo via the Maven acquisition, said Nelson.

It's not surprising that Yahoo would shut down Maven's original service to serve large media properties. While video growth is still exploding, advertising hasn't really exploded with it.

Moreover, many big companies can do much of what video networks can do. A video platform consisting of storage, processing, streaming, delivery and advertising isn't that difficult to cobble together. But if it's soups-to-nuts solutions, it's also a very competitive market with more entrants with better and advanced technologies. At the time I covered Yahoo closely at MarketWatch, some years ago, Maven competed with Brightcove. Today, there are a number of newcomers, such as Ooyala and Kaltura, making their way onto the video scene. 

Recently, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told shareholders at Yahoo's annual shareholders meeting that Yahoo continues to evaluate its brands, and consider which sites to shut down, repair or sell off. She's not kidding. Since Q4 2008, Yahoo has closed or announced its intention to close some 20 properties, according to a Yahoo statement.

Here's a formal statement from Nelson at Yahoo: 

Since acquiring Maven Networks in 2008, Maven has played an important role in our video strategy, providing essential talent and core technology that has helped Yahoo! to enhance its consumer and advertising offerings. Maven technology is used in the Yahoo video player, as well as in the Yahoo Video Advertising Platform that is being used to serve both on- and off- network advertising for Yahoo! partners.

While video initiatives remain a priority for Yahoo!, both for its consumer and advertising experiences, we are increasing investment in some areas while scaling back in others. After careful consideration, Yahoo! is planning to wind down its Maven Networks contracts. This decision will allow us to focus our resources on the continued improvement of our core video offerings, such as enhancing the consumer video experience on Yahoo!.

Since Q4 2008, we have closed or announced our intention to close, nearly twenty Yahoo! services– such as Yahoo! 360, GeoCities, My Web and Yahoo! Briefcase. We continue to evaluate our portfolio of products and services on a regular basis, and plan to share details of further changes with people who use our products in the months ahead.

(Image source: Ycorpblog)



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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Ooyala is a video technology company that provides an integrated platform enabling the delivery, management, and monetization of high quality video content. Focused on innovation and scalability, Ooyala is committed to providing the most comprehensive video solutions to companies worldwide.Ooyala is headquartered in Mountain View, Ca with sales operations in New York, NY and London, UK. 

"Ooyala" means cradle in Telugu, a Southern Indian language. We like the name because it demonstrates what we are doing -- cradling a new form of innovation.

Ooyala was founded in early 2007 by Sean Knapp, Belsasar Lepe and Bismarck Lepe - all former Google employees. While at Google, they worked on the development and launch of various monetization and content distribution products such as AdSense, AdWords and Google Web Search. After four years of engineering and product development at the biggest Internet company in the world, the three left Google to start Ooyala. Ooyala has raised over 10 million dollars in funding and has in excess of 5000 publishers using its syndication platform - Backlot. Ooyala's goal is to build a successful technology company that focuses on delivering the best video experience to video content providers, advertisers and most importantly consumers.




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