October 4, 2011 by staff
Yahoo ABC, ABC News and Yahoo join to offer online news audiences. With the agreement, ABC news content will be prominently featured on Yahoo News, the site most visited news website in the world. Also shown on the popular front page of Yahoo.
The two news organizations have a combined audience online from more than 100 million users per month in the U.S. – Something ABC News President Ben Sherwood said was “the size of the audience of the Super Bowl.”
Meanwhile, the ABC agreement helps grow your online reach, Yahoo News can direct additional traffic to its site with original, made for online content. For the first time, ABC has launched a news web series only, from a live interview with President Barack Obama George Stephanopoulos on Monday afternoon. That sets off a series, “subjects of news” with online interviews conducted by the likes of Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and others.
Couric said the agreement offers “incredible opportunity to interview extended” and delve into issues without the constraints of “TV time.”
Both companies maintain editorial control over their own content.
Yahoo and ABC News have already had agreements to share online content, but the companies say the latest adventure goes beyond that. Sherwood called it a “day of game-changing” for ABC News.
Outside of Monday’s announcement, there has been little reason to fanfare in Yahoo lately. The company has struggled to increase advertising revenue in recent years, partly due to competition from Google and Facebook. The company fired its CEO, Carol Bartz, last month and is trying to decide whether to sell all or at least part of the company.
Colin Gillis, ananlyst with BGP Financial Partners, said Yahoo’s alliance with ABC “will not solve Yahoo problems.” Gillis said: “This is a relatively small event in the wider ecosystem of what is going on with Yahoo.”
Yahoo problem, Gillis believes, is that “there is a strong voice for a lot of content,” the way AOL has Huffington Post, for example. What the agreement will help the action of the company ABC brand some press ABC. But Gillis said that while Yahoo’s biggest problem is the leadership vacuum.
“No big business is going to do until that void is filled,” he said.
Although the quality of their journalism is frowned upon, ABC News has suffered from a business point of view during the last decade as a partner does not have regular cable, the way NBC has MSNBC and CNBC News. The close relationship with Yahoo could give the network the opportunity to go beyond that weakness. ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.
“This is the future networks,” said Sherwood. “This is how people get their news and information from the various networks, whether on television, online, on mobile devices, tables, and frankly, in ways we have not even thought of yet.”
As part of the agreement, ABC and Yahoo work together to sell advertising. ABC will sell ads online during the spring “upfront” season, when advertisers bid for commercial time for next fall television season. Yahoo will handle sales for the rest of the year.
Executives would not reveal how companies share revenue created by the company. Levinsohn said that Yahoo has already heard from advertisers and agencies looking to be part of the new programming created for the Web.
Sherwood and Levinsohn are new to their jobs, having taken over leadership roles in their companies during the past year. Sherwood said there have been known for some time past by the digital business and started talking about ways to work together as soon as they started in their new positions.
Also part of the agreement, Christiane Amanpour will have a series on the Web only discuss the major international titles of the day and “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir will make a weekly series on innovations titled “This could be big.”
ABC will work with Yahoo on the political coverage in the face of the election year, he said.
ABC already contributes clips from Yahoo news sites, but the deal deepens the relationship with the content and more power makes up on the ABC News Web site, the executives said.
“To be able to go deeper with this set of ABC News talent is an important statement for us,” said Ross Levinsohn, senior vice president of the Americas at Yahoo.
Yahoo shares rose 81 cents, or 6.2 percent, and 13.98 in morning trading. Investors were buying the shares after the CEO of China Internet company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said it would be “very interested” in buying Yahoo.
Year to date, Yahoo shares have fallen 16 percent.
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