Yahoo7 plans for life after Plus7

Yahoo7 will look to create its own content and video opportunities following the removal of streaming service Plus7 from its platform.

Mark Robinson, director of product at Yahoo7 told Mumbrella there’s still a lot of opportunity for video, pointing to a “future proposition” which will launch in the early new year.

Robinson signals more video opportunities for Yahoo7 in the new year

“There’s not yet an oversupply of video in this market in terms of inventory. Until there is, they (advertisers) will continue to be hungry for whatever we put on the table,” Robinson said.

“At the moment, we are actively working with the Oath team and with Seven on what that future proposition will look like and we are looking to have something released to market in the early new year.”

Oath is the renamed Yahoo following its merger with AOL under new owners, US telco Verizon, and Robinson’s comments come off the back of Seven’s subsequent announcement that the network would remove its streaming service platform from Yahoo7, and create its own named ‘7Plus’.

While Yahoo7’s future has remained in doubt, Robinson confirmed there will still be an exclusive video content offering for Yahoo7, arguing there is still a lot of value in the brand.

“The content that shifts back to 7Plus – exclusive to that – there will be a content offering on our own network.

“We’ve been strong in video irrespective of Plus7, we’ve had a long record of delivering shortform video to video editorial in particular and we have some really exciting things in the works.”

Robinson has been responsible for the overhaul of Yahoo7’s seven consumer websites including Be, 7News, 7Sport, Weather and TV Guide, under the ReImagine Network Initiative which aimed to tackle scalability, usability and viewability in order to create an experience which would encourage users to return.

Yahoo7’s Be redesign

After Yahoo7’s announcement, a number of platforms followed suit. Robinson admitted the problem with viewability was not unique or new, but said the publisher saw the opportunity to get ahead on it as quickly as possible.

“We’ve had a bit of a history of being slightly ahead of the curve. We moved into programmatic with Gemini quicker than most of the other publishers and saw that opportunity – admittedly we had the advantage of a production within our own wheelhouse to bring to market,” he said.

“For us we saw the sooner we could move on that, the better it’s going to be. We also had the dual problem of not having a network that could adapt quickly to change and that’s what we really needed from a scale stand point.”

He believes the website’s improvements – which allow the publisher to build, test and launch new products between four weeks to 24 hours, have also put them ahead of competitors in terms of page speed.

“There’s a site called web page test – you can plug in any URL there and we’ve gone through ourselves and our competitive set and we are coming in consistently at the number one or two positions in page load and that’s our goal.”

He also said Yahoo7’s Carousel ad format on its Gemini premium native advertising product, was delivering 3.3 times the click-through rate of a static ad in the same position.

According to Robinson, advertising partners’ responses to the changes have also been positive.

“The real positive response has come out of key ad agency partners who are looking at viewability and looking at the opportunity that represents for them. Page speed is so crucial to that. The gains we have made in page speed are having a direct correlation with an improved engagement across our network.

“We’ve seen our sessions per unique audience go up by about 22% across our news property and that’s a year on year number so in that regard what we’ve taken a focus on is a middle of funnel look. We haven’t necessarily chased new users with our re-design – that’s to come. We haven’t necessarily tried to ramble page views in or tried to get more streams at this point.”

However, the Standard Media Index – reporting agency ad spend with the exclusion of IPG Mediabrands – report Yahoo7 has seen a September year on year decline of 23%, a loss of almost $15m.

“SMI data isn’t an accurate indication of the financial health of our business and doesn’t reflect a large portion of our revenue, given our proprietary platforms and technology, which have grown materially year on year,” Robinson said.

Robinson said he is looking forward to the next year and a strong future for the Yahoo7 brand: “It’s three big months of pushing out a lot of site and a big network overhaul and knowing that everyone has the opportunity to build some cool stuff on a quick to release platform that’s really important and bodes really well for next year.”



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