Nine rejects Yahoo7’s claim of being the third player in market behind Facebook and Google

Nine Entertainment Co and Yahoo7 are locked in a tussle over which media company commands the larger overall digital audience.

The argument developed after Yahoo7 launched its position for the coming year to the market, including its own interpretation of Nielsen data.

Yahoo7 believes its combination of skills and assets across content, data and tech will help the company stand out in the year ahead, with the digital company looking to solidify its position as what it claims is third player behind Facebook and Google in these areas during 2017.

However, Yahoo7’s third-place position  is being disputed by rival media company Nine Entertainment Network which shot back at claims made by Yahoo7 during media briefings of having a bigger audience.

While Yahoo7 reported its interpretation of Nielsen audience figures which put it in third place amongst 25-54 years olds, ahead of the likes of News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment Co, Nine has since rejected the claim suggesting there has not been a like-for-like comparison.

Alex Parsons, Nine chief digital and marketing officer, said in a statement: “The latest January Nielsen numbers show Nine Digital has retained its place as Australia’s number one digital content network with a unique audience of 14.4m.

“Those numbers also clearly showed Seven and Yahoo with a unique audience of 10.1m. Any comparison of the reach of their digital network with ours should include an apples-for-apples comparison and not seek to deliberately mislead the market by excluding our long-standing partner Microsoft.”

Source: Nine Entertainment Company

Yahoo7’s numbers were revealed during a trade media briefing this morning in which Paul Sigaloff, Yahoo7 commercial director, said the company already had secured the third-place position.

“We’re already in third place which is great but what we want to do is turbo towards Google and Facebook because there’s some huge, huge growth there,” he said.

“It’s about benchmarking ourselves against the growing people rather than just fishing in that digital publishing pond.”

Paul Sigaloff: Yahoo7 wants to disrput the Facebook-Google duopoly

Sigaloff said Yahoo7 wants to “disrupt” the duopoly held in market by Facebook and Google.

“There’s a couple of interesting dynamics in the digital market around new ad dollars and a couple of big hoovers in Facebook and Google sucking out as much as 85 cents in every new ad dollar. We genuinely believe there is an opportunity to disrupt that.”

Sigaloff said it is Yahoo7’s ability to bring together content, data and tech that makes its offering to advertisers “unique”.

“If you’re a traditional content publisher, you’re really good at data and content but you don’t have any tech. If you’re a Facebook or Google, you’re really good at data and tech but you don’t have any content. We have a leadership position in all three,” he said.

Yahoo7 claims to have the most comprehensive data set in the country due to its data collection points across search, email and purchase data.  The company also highlighted the technology it owns, including programmatic advertising company Brightroll and its native advertising group Gemini, as well as the content the company creates, and has access to, through its joint-venture relationship with Seven West Media.

The strategy announcement comes ahead of Verizon’s completion of Yahoo in the US.

Sigaloff, who jokingly described Verizon as Yahoo’s “rich sugar daddy”, said further news on what the acquisition will mean for Yahoo and its Australian joint-venture with Seven West Media Yahoo7, would come out in around two months.

It also follows on from Seven West Media’s $75m write-down in value of Yahoo7.

Nielsen has been approached for comment and clarification over the figures.

UPDATE 3:16pm:  Yahoo7 is standing by its figures, issuing the following statement: “We stand by these audience numbers which reflect only owned and operated assets. Yahoo7 does not include audiences from its extensive third party ad network, we have reported the numbers just as they appear in Nielsen under parent entities. We believe this to be the most transparent and valuable comparison of audience reach. For clarity, the data under discussion is for Yahoo7 alone and does not include the substantial incremental audience generated by SWM’s other owned assets.”


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