Om Malik surprised me today by suggesting Yahoo! should buy Hulu, the joint venture video portal of NBC Universal and News Corp. The company was founded in 2007 to create a destination site to present content from TV networks and was a response to the meteoric rise of YouTube.
Malik comes to that conclusion while thinking about the need for a solid number 2 exec at Yahoo! now that they’ve named Carol Bartz as their new CEO. He thinks Jason Kilar, Hulu’s young CEO, is a natural for that role and he suggests Yahoo! buys them.
He says: “With his service growing by leaps and bounds, and advertisers lining up to get on board, Kilar’s only problem is that he doesn’t have enough traffic –- like, say, YouTube. That will change over a period of time; and as we all know, time is an elastic concept. Perhaps this is where Yahoo can help. Or rather, where the two can help each other. Clearly search and search advertising isn’t quite working out for Yahoo; what Yahoo knows best is media and content. Which is why buying Hulu would be a strategically relevant acquisition for the company — it would play to Yahoo’s media strengths.”
He adds to explain why NBC and News Corp. would sell: “You’re probably thinking, why would Fox and GE sell their pet project to Yahoo? Well, why not? After all, they took a $100 million investment from Providence Equity Partners, which means they have an interest in making some sort of a return on this company.”
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Hulu is one of the core elements of NBCu and News Corp online video strategy. They were ridiculed when it was first announced (Techcrunch called it Clown Co., they’ve changed their minds since then) but they proved everybody wrong. Most people thought a joint venture between traditional media companies would fail, that the user experience would be bad, that no one would use it. According to this article, in September 2008, they streamed 142 million videos, a 42% month over month increase. It’s growing fast and on the verge of becoming a major player online. Selling Hulu to Yahoo! would be like AT&T selling YellowPages.com to Google. Won’t happen, nope. Don’t even think about it. As for return on investment, expect an IPO in a couple of years, not a sale.
And Hulu! We want access in Canada!
September 16, 2008
Very interesting slide from Frank Jules’s presentation yesterday. Jules is President and CEO, AT&T Advertising & Publishing. In it, he details the high-level strategic imperatives of the AT&T Yellow Pages organization.
December 11, 2007
AT&T held an analyst conference today and Ray Wilkins, Group President – Diversified Businesses, was presenting the “advertising and search” portion of the allocution. The presentation shows that YellowPages.com currently generates approximately $550M in revenues and that AT&T is aiming at more than $1B in revenues in 2010 for the site. They also expect a good revenue lift from advertising appearing in U-verse, their interactive television product.
Other interesting data points include:
- Print and Online Ebitda margins in the mid-40% range in the next three years
- Mobility advertising starting end of 2008
- 2 billion search queries in 2008 and 3 billion by 2010.
You can find the slides (.pdf) here.
(found on PaidContent.org)
September 11, 2007
(originally reported on the Zatznotfunny blog)
What it means: I often talk about media fragmentation. This is yet another good example. Surfing the Web on your TV either through a set-top box or a videogame console is something I see more and more. Make sure your content is ready for these new formats.
February 23, 2007
According to TechCrunch, InsiderPages has been sold to a public company. They add: “Our understanding is that the acquisition price is more than the total capital raised by the company, but not by much.”
SFDaddyo commented that “Rumor has it that they were for sale for less than $10 million”.
Peter Krasilovsky adds on The Kelsey Group’s blog: “I would speculate that possible purchasers are probably CitySearch, Yellowpages.com, or RH Donnelley. Theoretically, Yellowpages.com and RHD would have the most to gain from such an acquisition, since they could use the 600,000+ reviews as a building block for their own review archives. Yellowpages.com, in fact, has just rolled out a review feature, and it is going to be tough to ramp it up quickly. They could also use Insider’s crack tech team. But some people’s money would actually be on CitySearch as a buyer. While CitySearch wouldn’t incorporate the technology, it would like to get ahold of the 3 million+ unique viewers that come to the site every month. It could also gain from SEOing all the businesses that are covered. I bet there isn’t even ten percent overlap with CitySearch. Theoretically, City could also integrate “Insider Advice,” a Yahoo Answers-like feature. Still….$9 million or so is a lot for what are –basically– aging reviews.”
What it means: I had tried last week to do a “back-of-the-envelope” valuation model (based on the Switchboard.com acquisition by InfoSpace) which put their value at around three to four times the total raised by the company. If TechCrunch is right (and they’re usually pretty good!), my model was faulty as it looks like they we will be sold for a little
bit more than $10 million. Which might mean that the original investors will not get much out of the transaction (there were two investment rounds). I’m not sure Citysearch would get much out of Insiderpages though. I suspect the acquirer might be one of the big three US directory companies (YellowPages.com, RHD or Superpages).
February 15, 2007
From the press release:
YellowPages.com , a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., today announced it has rolled out user reviews to its national site, enabling consumers to share opinions on local and national businesses
The service allows consumers who register with the site to rate businesses from one to five stars, with five stars representing an “exceptional” rating. Site visitors can also write original text recapping their experience with businesses.
YellowPages.com visitors will automatically see the average rating of businesses to the right of listings, with the number of total ratings and reviews for the listing indicated in parentheses. A “Read Reviews” link allows visitors to read reviews in full, which are posted alongside the username of the reviewer and the date the review was submitted.
Update: Greg Sterling says that initial user reviews are coming from Judy’s Book their own beta test.
What it means: user reviews are now definitely a key element of any local search site. In this implementation, I like the fact that the merchant can interact with the reviews and comment back in the site a la eBay or Citysearch. I think that’s the right way to integrate user reviews.