), it appears, is discovering what news media companies have known
for generations. Producing original quality editorial content,
others will notice - whether readers, other news outlets or even
advertisers. And by grabbing that sort of attention, the company
also gains some credibility.
During a presentation at Yahoo's Analyst Day, company execs
talked about the new respect that Yahoo Sports has received by
breaking news, landing exclusive interviews and even creating
original, on-the-fly content to accompany video clips or other
daily highlights. (
As the company talks about its commitment to being a destination
site for relevant information - as opposed to being a search engine
like Google (
) - the investment into original content seems to be paying off.
Other sources, including ESPN and The Washington Post (
), are giving credit to Yahoo for breaking news - and the company
is seeing some great traffic on those posts. Likewise, Yahoo is
also seeing some traction in original video.
What comes next? A similar strategy around the Entertainment,
News and Finance verticals. But that's not to say that the company
is looking to turn publisher partners into competitors. The
majority of the content is licensed by third parties and much of it
comes in on a revenue-sharing basis or on a "content for traffic"
basis where no cash is exchanged but instead drives traffic to the
partner site - basically help them build brand awareness and
For some time, news publishers - mostly the newspapers - have
been squawking about aggregators like Yahoo and Google, arguing
that they are gaining traffic (and revenue) because of someone
else's reporting work. In some ways, that's a fair argument. But in
other ways, it's more of the head-buried-in-the-sand mentality.
Newspapers, unlike Yahoo and other Web sites, are still plagued
by that yesterday's-news-on-a-dead-tree model that comes with a lot
of financial overhead and isn't nearly as timely as the Internet.
Sure, most newspapers have their own Web sites but with the
millions of people who come to Yahoo everyday - whether to check
their e-mail or look up a stock quote - doesn't it make sense for
Yahoo to help distribute that news and drive some traffic back to
the original source?
Yahoo has its own editorial news staff for Sports and now
they're looking at beefing up the staffs for Entertainment, Finance
and News. I know first-hand of way too many professional
journalists who have been laid off by struggling newspapers and
would probably jump at the chance to help Yahoo build a breaking
news, find-it-here-first sort of news operation.
If publishers continue to squawk about keeping their content
behind a wall, don't come crying when a Web company like Yahoo
beats you at your own game - with the employees you trained.
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