Yahoo Media Group’s Changing Direction; Tuesday’s Meeting; David Katz Leaves; Yahoo-Fox

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Updated: This one trumps the stories below: We mentioned about the Yahoo-Current TV deal being over…Variety confirms it again. But also, it reports that David Katz, the VP heading Yahoo Studios and Yahoo Sports (within Yahoo Media Group) left last week…Katz, who formerly led CBS’ Internet efforts, joined YMG in summer 2005 to oversee sports and entertainment. Last spring, as part of a realignment at YMG, Katz was put in charge of Yahoo Studios, a new unit that oversees original content development and production, while keeping his sports duties. No word on why he leftm though story says could have been differences with Lloyd Braun.
Original post: Variety’s Ben Fritz has a report-card on Yahoo Media Group, the division down here in Santa Monica, almost two years after its formation. Led by Lloyd Braun (who, yes, is still there), YMG senior team is busy re-designing aging sites and launching new ones, the story says. They’re also re-thinking how to interface with the “old media” companies…and have come back to the partnership/aggregation view of the content world. Also, the new-ish sub-division Yahoo Studios is dipping its toes back again into programming.
And then, relaunch of some of the sites: In some cases, that’s as simple as re-designing sites that haven’t been significantly updated since, literally, the last century. Yahoo TV, for example, got a new look this past week, and big changes for the Yahoo Movies site are in the works. Another area: the new “brand universe” strategy which we mentioned earlier last week in a post.
But the north vs south divide still remains, and is a challenge: While Yahoo Media Group is finally stepping into video, the corporate structure has kept it out of the user generated video space. Yahoo’s entry in the category grew out of its attempt to build a video search engine and it is thus run by the company’s “social media” group in Northern California’s Sunnyvale…that led to the curious situation in which Current TV deal with Yahoo to host its online video effort came out of there (and even that may be faltering).
Anyway, gist of it all: a cautious approach from YMG.
Meanwhile, we have heard from sources that a major exec meeting across the board (VP level and above) is slated at Yahoo, this Tuesday, and we may hear some major news….no sure what the agenda is, but restructuring the executive portfolios might be one part of it, there’s speculation internally.
Staci adds: A little more on YMG … With a retooled debuting, Yahoo Finance is enhancing its offerings via a video deal with Fox News. Yahoo Finance will get biz news video fron Fox in a deal signed this weekend. It’s not a portal deal like the one CNBC escaped from with MSN, according to one source familiar with the deal; Fox News can still launch its own business site if and when the network finally spins off a biz net. It’s also not a microsite like the deal with CBS for 60 Minutes. Fox Business Now will be ad supported with prime placement on Yahoo. David Lieberman has some more details. Fox says the timing is coincidental. The deal covers about 10 clips a day from Your World with Neil Cavuto and web-only video including breaking news.

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Jason H

Is this the same company that paid $1 billion 10 years ago to Mark Cuban for and still hasn't figured it out … ?

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