A number of things: I have an understanding of business-to-user experiences, an appreciation of audiences – which I think is critical – but also a deep understanding of and contacts within the advertising industry. Plus, I’ve got a long-standing experience of leading multiple teams over multiple territories for many years. It is a combination of experience in the media, content and advertising worlds.
As the world’s largest publisher, you can have a lot of partnerships. In the US, we create a lot of our own content; but we’ve got partnerships with Dailymotion, Reuters, AP [Associated Press], and Vevo, among others. Here, we just partnered with Saudi Arabia’s UTURN Entertainment [an online entertainment channel, which initially started on YouTube as a satirical web show].
Big classic content producers and broadcasters are also a lot more relaxed about where their content is [being made available outside of their online platforms], because it can be monetized. We’re having ongoing conversations with broadcasters all the time – including ABC, with which we have a big relationship. We’ve just got to offer good terms, whether to broadcasters or any video content providers, and we have a good chance of doing deals with them.
We do have similar partnerships in the region on Arab Idol with MBC – where we dedicated a space [on our platform] highlighting video snippets from the show, and created a contextual experience around it. We want to be partner-friendly.
We have a lot of analytics and advertising tools that understand exactly how users are behaving. You buy very precisely, and you only buy what we deliver. It all comes back to the technology platform, which is self-learning; based on what the users’ behavior is and where the users click, the platform is connecting with our advertising tools so we can really serve these audiences very specifically. You can also real-time bid for what you want.
The point of differentiation that we have is the multiple audiences that can access our multiple platforms. You can buy our mobile audience, PC, social in the US, and Tumblr, among other platforms. What we have done is sort of unified our solutions across these platforms. So what makes Yahoo so much more powerful and interesting relative to some of the other players in our market is this multiplicity of tools: Google, terrific, primarily search; Facebook, terrific, primarily social.
We have search, we have social, we have mail, we have it all and we can make the advertisers’ journey so much more efficient.
We’re filling the premium Arabic content gap. We just revamped our homepage with an infinite stream of content and ads; the more users interact with the content, the more it – and advertising – becomes highly relevant to them, and that is perfect for mobile. Those native ads in that stream are critical.
Then, you will see proper native advertising in the apps that we’re continuing to develop and roll out; we’ve created bespoke content solutions within our verticals for key and major clients, where we will have and produce original content that is in sync with their marketing. [The delay in rolling out solutions outside of the US is due to our] company policy to develop products that work in the US before they’re rolled out. So there’s a bit of a lag everywhere.
What is interesting about this market is that it’s already sort of a mobile-first market. The fact that it’s a very young population that speaks a single language makes the opportunity for us so much greater. The majority of money is still spent on television here. [But] at some stage, the tap will be turned on the realization that the online and mobile experience is very powerful. I expect we’ll see a very swift increase of budgets [in the region] in our space.
I think the football app [developed and recently launched by Yahoo Maktoob for the upcoming World Cup] here is a great example.
The fact that it’s a single language region makes it phenomenally powerful. I’m not saying it’s homogeneous, but in terms of language, it makes things so much easier. We are seeing everywhere the shift to mobile, the insatiable appetite for video, and the growth of native advertising and programmatic buying. It’s a question of degree [of adoption for each market]. As human beings, we all like to say we’re very different and that there are peculiarities about each market. There are, in terms of demographics, but in terms of consumption of media, it’s pretty uniform.