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Summary:

Big Media companies, get ready for more competition, this time from Yahoo, which is finally embracing its inner media company. Yahoo is planning to launch a new News blog that will combine traditional reporting and linking, according to Andrew Golis, deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo, […]

yahoo-office.pngBig Media companies, get ready for more competition, this time from Yahoo, which is finally embracing its inner media company. Yahoo is planning to launch a new News blog that will combine traditional reporting and linking, according to Andrew Golis, deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo, who is joining the new effort. He blogged about his move, noting that the name and other details of the effort will be outlined soon. Yahoo is already a top news site and this new blog is going to be part of Yahoo News.

Yahoo is following in the footsteps of AOL, which has benefited from its ownership of Weblogs’ family of blogs. AOL has extended that knowledge and built a big network of popular web destinations that are helping it rustle up display dollars. With their big Internet audiences, both AOL and Yahoo have an opportunity to push the main media entities into the background.

The sheer scale of these companies will make them attractive options for large brands that are shifting their dollars from the dying print and television media to the web. For newspapers with healthy web traffic: Time to start thinking about how you’re going to sink or swim in this era in which you’re going to compete with Yahoo and AOL. (Related post: Why for AOL, the Future is Content.)

  1. Why would anyone read it? Sure, Yahoo is a top news site, but what that really means is a news aggregator — if I go there at all, it’s to see what other, *credible* news sites have written. Yahoo itself has zero credibility in the news-origination business, and hiring the deputy publisher of a well-read political blog ain’t gonna change that. Companies like Yahoo need to get real: credibility in news these days is a precious commodity, and very few outlets have it — The Economist, for one, gets this and is prospering as a result (and yes, I’m biased, I used to be The Econ’s NY bureau chief). This is just another dumb me-too strategy, and Yahoo’s chances of challenging Big Media on its own turf (i.e., originating news) are just about zero. Sure, Yahoo can score on quantity, but until they grok the value of quality, they’re gonna be just another me-too aggregator. Which means their audience will up and leave the minute a cooler aggregator comes along.

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    1. Peter

      I respectfully disagree about Yahoo! The fact of the matter is that with right kind of writers, it can build a nice and respectable brand which can be competitive to the newspapers. It can do original journalism and marry it to the aggregation. I

      You talk about credibility of The Economist and no one, much less would argue that, after all it is the only magazine I still read on paper. I think the big media entities are unfortunately not the Economist. I think with the exception of a handful, they are all going to be navigating through rough seas.

      http://gigaom.com/2009/05/17/how-internet-content-distribution-discovery-are-changing/

      And having built this business, I know it is not smart to discount the traffic a large site like Yahoo enjoys. That firehose can be used to build an interesting destination.

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      1. Om,

        I certainly don’t think it’s impossible to build a decent online news brand from scratch. Indeed, you could argue that TPM has done just that, although I don’t really see it as a source for news, rather as a source of commentary (some of it original, and all of it nicely done). But none of the online news/commentary sites has really broken through to challenge Big Media; even the Huffington Post is still stuck in the new media echo chamber. At least in my view.

        But I think Yahoo has a particular credibility problem. Sure, it’s a high-traffic aggregator, but I think its users see it as such — a portal to the news, but nothing more… a pass-through, if you like. Perhaps Yahoo can blend some original reporting and commentary into the mix, but that would require a huge staff if it’s going to be done properly. AOL, as you know, has staffed up immensely in this area, yet I don’t see it gaining any credibility as a “news organization.” Does anyone really mention it in the same breath as CNN, MSNBC, the BBC, and other established news originators? I don’t see that, and I really don’t see it happening for Yahoo either. Maybe it’s me.

        I agree about my alma mater: it is playing its offline and online hands immensely well, and in an era when every news/commentary organization is losing credibility, it is heading in the other direction. But it has done that by sticking very close to its core brand proposition. (And in fact where it hasn’t — a number of acquisitions come to mind — it has failed dismally, much to the dismay of shareholders… like me, LOL). Yahoo, by contrast, is straying far from its brand proposition (whatever that really is — I can’t tell these days), which is another reason I’m pessimistic.

        But then I’m often pessimistic… :)

        Cheers, Peter

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