To refocus its media strategy, it's made key hires in these areas, redesigned pages and increased coverage in its areas of focus. In sports, for example, Yahoo has recently hired 13 editorial staffers, including a team of eSports reporters. It also launched "The Vertical with Woj" early this year, a NBA-focused vertical.
Yahoo will also live-stream one MLB game for free each day this season — a total of 180 games — as well as up to four NHL games weekly. It could be a boon for advertisers, who are increasingly looking for ways to reach viewers who are cutting the chord or skipping commercials. Not only does sports still hold a large live audience, it also provides a way to reach one of the hardest-to-reach demographics, millennial males. Yahoo has had more than 30 brands partner with them since it streamed a live NFL game from London last year.
"We're very invested in creating rich experiences for consumers on any device, especially as we see more and more consumers watching that live baseball game on their smartphone," Utzschneider said. "We want to ensure a seamless and rich experience, and give marketers the opportunity to connect with those users wherever they might be."
Yahoo Finance is rapidly expanding its video offerings and staffing up. It will be growing personal finance coverage, especially since Yahoo has seen interest from a new audience — millennials — who like topics like debt management versus traditional investment advice. And, in April, it's using its livestreaming capabilities to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, including a lunch break halftime show and a sit-down interview with chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, which will be translated into Chinese. Sponsors have been lined up, but not announced.
"I think it shows the real strength of Yahoo, which is we have the editorial power and connections to be trusted with something like that and the integrity, and also we have the technology that allows us to do something like that, which is quite ambitious," Nelson said. "There (aren't) that many people out there that would be able to pull it off in the tech-media field."
Nelson also teased plans for a new product for its lifestyle content, but said it was in the works.
That's not to mention its social media platform Tumblr, which now boasts 280 million users and an audience of more than 500 million people. Utzschneider called it a great space for native advertising and creative expression, noting that brands like Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Starbucks have purchased ads on the platform. The company remains completely invested in Tumblr, she emphasized.
To go with the premium content, Utzschneider said that Yahoo is also dedicating resources to increasing the integration of its programmatic ad platform, including delivering better data insights via information from mail, search, and its ad tech platforms Bright Roll, Yahoo Gemini and Flurry. It's put a high emphasis on addressing ad viewability issues and advertising fraud. Though these are issues that have affected the digital media industry as a whole, sources say Yahoo's programmatic advertising platform has been especially vulnerable to fraud issues. Yahoo denies those claims.
"In doubling down in ad tech and ensuring a great user and marketer experience, ad fraud is top of mind for us," Utzschneider said. "Every single day we think about how can ensure that we are delivering high-quality inventory. We have tons of mechanisms in place, where we're measuring it, tracking it. We're having ongoing conversations with our advertiser because their bar is really high."