Seven West Media has taken the digital assets for its Pacific Magazines properties back from Yahoo7, in a sign the digital joint venture could be set to unravel.
The move sees Seven take sales and editorial control for the digital elements of mastheads including Better Homes and Gardens, Marie Clare, Girlfriend and Who back from Yahoo7, with the company also set to rebrand Pacific Magazines.
Speculation over the future of Seven’s joint venture with Yahoo has been intensifying in recent months as the US internet giant looks to create a new strategic direction for the company and sell off large parts of its existing business.
In 2013 Nine Entertainment bought Microsoft out of a similar arrangement as digital revenues became tighter and digital rights became increasingly important and tied up with linear broadcast rights. Seven recently took control of digital rights for the Australian Open tennis creating a stand-alone app outside the Yahoo7 arrangement.
Asked this morning if Seven was committed to the joint venture a spokesman replied: “Yes we are.”
Confident of joint venture future: Harrison
Yahoo7 CEO Ed Harrison told The Australian today: “It’s a positive development for both shareholders. While Seven has been keen to have some digital ventures sit outside of the JV, that doesn’t mean they are less supportive of the ventures within the JV.”
Under the new deal Yahoo7 will still create native advertising for the Pacific Magazines brands, but things like the increasingly important e-commerce aspects, seen as an important future revenue model for magazines, will be controlled in-house.
In a release Peter Zavecz, CEO, Pacific Magazines, said: “We have come together to evolve our partnership into one that better reflects the changing media landscape, our audiences’ and clients’ expectations and the inherent complementary strengths of Pacific and Yahoo7.
“Our clients will benefit from a single solution across all platforms, whilst the consumer experience will be seamless across publishing, social, video and online. This will drive our deep expertise in content, brands and categories whilst completing our multi-platform offering and total audience footprint.”
In the release Clive Dickens, chief digital officer of Seven West Media said the new deal would “deliver even better user experiences for consumers and better outcomes for all commercial partners.”
It is thought Yahoo7 will now look to expand its own lifestyle and entertainment offerings, with Harrison saying it would look to “partner with a diverse set of content creators” globally.
Last year Bauer Media took back control for its own digital assets from Nine’s digital arm Mi9, but the company came in for criticism for creating a stand-alone digital unit to operate them as opposed to integrating them with the main editorial teams. Many of the digital portals are yet to get traction.
In the release Pacific Magazines says there will be new launches under the new structure, although it is unclear how Seven intends to operate the digital brands within the business.
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