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4A’s Roundup: Yahoo’s Bartz Talks Data; Huffington Beyond The Paywall

Marketers and agency execs began gathering for the 4A’s Transformation 2010 conference in San Francisco to go over the current challenges to the traditional way of doing business. On day two, topics included the use of consumer data and who’s got control of it, the growth of consumer control over media and when digital dollars will reach parity with analog ad spending.

»  Bartz on science and scale: In her keynote, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz presented Yahoo’s pitch to marketers, which rests on 600 million users and its wide array of content offerings, from women’s content to Olympics coverage to finance. She also conceded that Yahoo has had poor customer relations that made the sales process more difficult and promised to smooth out those problems. Bartz: “We know we have to be more responsive. We have to work the friction out of our system.” (Mediaweek)

»  The consumer is the content: All this talk about meters and paywalls going on these days is beside the point, Arriana Huffington told the crowd. “In every survey you read, you have about 80 percent of consumers who say that they don’t want to pay for news and opinion, unless it’s very specialized news and information.”

With the rise of sites like HuffingtonPost, users are showing that they’re more interested in what other users have to produce — and so far, many of them are still willing to do it for free. Huffington: “The content provider is no longer at the center of the universe. At the center of the universe is now the news consumer.” (Adweek)

»  Waiting for digital parity: Optimism is hard to find in ad circles these days, but eMarker CEO Geoff Ramsey tried to provide some. The good news is that the day when ad revenues could make up 50 percent is practically in sight. Or at least it will be, at some point. But the bad news came from Quantcast CMO Adam Gerber, who complained that publishers don’t want to give marketers the data they want. PHD USA CEO Scott Hagedorn picked up that ball and ran with it noting that, there’s a surfeit of digital data and most of it is practically worthless. (Mediapost)