Yahoo’s Mayer Unveils Content, Ad Tools in Revenue Push

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer unveiled updated advertising services, mobile products and digital magazines for technology and food news, part of a push to revive sales at the largest U.S. Web portal.

In her first keynote speech as Yahoo CEO at the International Consumer Electronics Show yesterday in Las Vegas, Mayer was joined onstage by a parade of employees she’s brought on in the past year to build out Yahoo’s businesses, including global anchor Katie Couric and Nick D’Aloisio, the teenager who sold news-reading tool Summly to Yahoo last year.

Mayer, who took the helm at Yahoo in July 2012, has been working to reinvent the company by revamping products and adding exclusive content to help it compete with Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. for users and advertisers. The company’s new, more unified portfolio of ad tools will make it easier for companies to buy and manage promotions across Yahoo’s websites, said Senior Vice President Scott Burke, who also spoke onstage.

“A common theme across a lot of what you’ve seen today is us simplifying our business,” Mayer said yesterday. “Simplification has been a guiding force in our approach in reimagining our products, our advertising systems and our future plans.”

The new advertising products include a service to help marketers more accurately target audiences and a new ad exchange, which gives companies more tools to manage promotions on their websites.

Yahoo’s share of the U.S. digital-ad market is projected to shrink to 5 percent in 2015 from 5.8 percent last year, while Google and Facebook both may expand their shares, to 42 percent and 9 percent next year respectively, according to EMarketer Inc.

‘SNL’ Skit

Mayer, whose presentation included a short news skit with cast members from “Saturday Night Live,” also shared the stage with David Karp, founder of blogging service Tumblr Inc., which Yahoo acquired for more than $1 billion last year. He announced a new initiative to more closely tie Yahoo advertising with Tumblr’s own sponsored post marketing service.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company has rolled out other new advertising formats in recent months. In April, it announced a product that lets marketers place sponsored content in Yahoo’s stream of news items. The company later expanded the service to more of its properties, including its e-mail, sports and games sites.

Investors would like to see more results from new ad and mobile offerings. Yahoo’s third-quarter revenue, excluding sales passed to partner sites, slipped 0.7 percent from a year earlier to $1.08 billion. The company said fourth-quarter revenue on the same basis would be $1.18 billion to $1.22 billion, little changed from the same period in 2012.

Technology, Food

Couric, formerly the co-host of TV show “Today” and anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” is joining Yahoo as part of Mayer’s effort to build a news business and draw more viewers and advertisers.

In her address, Mayer showcased new online magazines designed for tablets. Pogue, a former technology columnist at the New York Times, unveiled Yahoo Tech, a publication that will focus on consumer-technology users who want to keep up on the latest in gadgets. The company also is rolling out a channel called Yahoo Food, which will feature photos, recipes and trends in cuisine.

D’Aloisio, 18, showed off a news-digest application for mobile devices that delivers a wrap-up of important events twice daily.

Yahoo announced other new initiatives in mobile and video. The company said it acquired Aviate, a mobile startup that helps people interact on wireless gadgets that run Google’s Android operating system. The Web portal also unveiled a revamp of its Connected TV product -- a new service called Yahoo Smart TV, which provides personalized programming, video on demand and Web services.

The presentation ended with Mayer bringing out singer John Legend for a performance. Before Mayer’s speech began, Yahoo shares rose 2.5 percent to $40.92 at yesterday’s close in New York. The stock doubled in 2013.

-- Editors: Jillian Ward, Pui-Wing Tam