Yahoo! Display Revenues Continue To Wobble; Mohan On Google Display, Closed Systems; Getting Netezza’d

Yahoo! Q4 2011Here’s today’s news round-up… Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Yahoo! Earnings Revealed

The song remains the same – for now.  From Yahoo!’s Q4 earnings release, “Revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs (ex-TAC) was $1,169 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 3 percent decrease from the fourth quarter of 2010.” And then, the display details: “Display revenue ex-TAC was $546 million, a 4 percent decrease compared to $567 million for the fourth quarter of 2010.” Data-driven display is not coming to the rescue here – likely due to a slide in revenue on the “premium”/guaranteed/Class 1 side in “the Americas” where Yahoo! display revenue has been a traditional sweet spot. Read the release. And, read Jason Del Rey on Ad Age. In his first appearance on an earnings call, new Yahoo! CEO Scott Thomson was enthusiastic about the company’s prospects but said in his intro, “The company has been growing users and launching products at a faster rate, but we need better execution to accelerate time-to-market and to better monetize the engagement we have.” Read the transcript on Seeking Alpha. Interesting to note that Yahoo! claims interclick benefits/revenues are not readily apparent because now that interclick is internal, it can’t record revenue like it used to when it did things such as buying and selling of Yahoo! inventory. At least that was my interpretation of a CFO Tim Morse answer. In general, like his CEO introduction, Thompson was still punting on most strategy questions with only two weeks of experience under his belt. Hear a replay of the call. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney told investors about Yahoo!, “Its core Display Ad biz seems like a Deteriorating Asset – a possibly perpetual market share loser – while its Asia Investment Portfolio would seem to contain significant Shareholder Value creation opportunities. We applaud YHOO’s significant share repo activity and would encourage the consideration of a dividend.”

About Closed Systems

Google VP of Product Neal Mohan answers questions from Brian Morrissey on Digiday.  Mohan takes exception to the idea that Google is building a closed ecosystem for display just like search: “Anybody who says that and has an understanding of how our industry works knows that is ridiculous. The best way is to give some examples. First of all, when we started in the display business, Google operated a display ad network. Yet we chose to build an ad exchange that was open to all the competitive networks.” Read more.

More Private Exchanges

In an article on New Media Age, Tim Gentry, Guardian News & Media’s commercial effectiveness manager, adds some fuel to the private exchange fire and says that, hey, it works! Rubicon Project’s private exchange offering is highlighted as Gentry says, “Ensuring that we’re capturing more of the spend in the market from trading desks like Vivaki’s Audience on Demand & Group M’s Xaxis, our share of the Rubicon [Project] UK News Channel grew from 11% to 18%, growing our effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM).” Read more.

Microsoft And VivaKi

More video to view!  Publicis’ VivaKi Nerve Center CEO Curt Hecht speaks to the Microsoft Ad crew at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Hecht sees opportunities for VivaKi  in several areas in the coming year with Microsoft. He notes Xbox and, on a test-and-learn basis for VivaKi, Skype. He says the Microsoft Exchange represents an important part of the exchange-driven, audience-buying-driven marketplace.  He also hopes to see more competition internationally being provided by Bing.  See it (gonna need Silverlight to view it).

Getting Netezza’d

For a while there, you couldn’t enter the demand-side platform tech conversation if you didn’t have a pricey Netezza computer helping you with the number crunching – and a press release announcing the “box”, too! Netezza has since been acquired by IBM and is now focused on an even more global mission.  Following up last week’s National Retail Federation show, and similar to the rest of  “Smarter Commerce” IBM, the Netezza unit is now squarely aiming at CMOs and their CIO friends as it “announced a new analytics appliance that analyzes up to petabytes of big data including consumer sales data and online shopping trends to help retailers gain actionable insight on buying patterns.”  Read the release.

Agencies Take Digital

On iMedia Connection, Sarah Fay  interviews IAB chief Randall Rothenberg who says that “digital natives” are being challenged by agencies and creative  shops that are looking to take back some of the work they lost when the digital tsunami first hit.  View now.  Rothenberg sees an agency resurgence.


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