By Sally Rawsthorne
A focus on future growth and remaining a strong player in the market informed the new play for ad dollars from Yahoo7, commercial director Paul Sigaloff told Mediaweek. Yahoo7 advertising will have five key pillars to roll out to advertising partners – content, premium, video, native and audience. The reaction from advertisers had been good, he said, noting that Yahoo7 has predominately spoken to agencies although some direct clients had also been in the mix. “People love our content, so it’s about providing that content wherever they are. It’s the same for advertising, our partners really find the audience that we attract to be very valuable. Through evolving our means of content distribution we’re giving them access to audiences across the board. Tennis is a great example – we had the Summer of Tennis and streamed 600 matches over 16 courts to 4.1 million people watching 22.1 million minutes of content.”
He noted that video was especially important to the Yahoo7 offering, given the company’s part-ownership by Seven West Media. “Video is really in our DNA, we’ve got the #1 television network and the #1 catchup television service.
“Video is one of our fastest-growing online ad products, so it’s great to have such a strong play within that area. But we’ve got a problem here in Australia, and that’s a lack of supply of good content. We talked a lot about how to fix that with our advertisers, around maximising the rights that we have access to and making sure we publish that in the most effective way.”
Sigaloff revealed some aggressive growth targets for Yahoo7 Advertising’s video arm. “We perceive there to be a 40% growth opportunity in short-form video content across content from Yahoo!, content from Seven West Media and other content. News and Fairfax have built some pretty robust businesses just on short-form, and we traditionally haven’t made that a big focus. Video in long-form will probably grow in the region of 20%, so not quite as much. But we’re definitely pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves.”
Big moves on video content will bring Yahoo7’s relationship with parent company Seven West Media into focus, Sigaloff said. “We’ve always worked closely together, but there’s definitely efficiency in publishing content more effectively. It’s about overlaying what content we can access and making sure to maximise everything. The way that television shows are being made is changing, they’re now built for cross-platform consumption whereas previously they were made for television and linear catchup. Now there’s more behind-the-scenes footage and all the other cool stuff we can access too.”
Video isn’t the only area where Yahoo7 and Seven West Media are working closely together, with data being another key focus. “We’ve had 10 years of leadership with data across demographic, behavioural, postcodes, custom segments and search-based. Now we’re doing a lot of work with marrying data where you can actually wash the data in a data safe haven by putting in the data and working out who are customers. Most recently, we’re looking at data across the Seven West Media assets – we’ve been working on creating a centralised data warehouse where we can start to map and understand consumption across our products,” he added.
Native is also important to Yahoo7 Advertising, Sigaloff said. “When we talk about native, we have two very distinct propositions – native content creation and native advertising. Content creation is where we leverage the extent of our editorial talent. As advertising directors get more focused on native as a way to having a dialogue with a consumer, they can actually talk to us and leverage our ability to tell a story in a digital environment. If they have content that they want us to distribute or amplify, we can do that through native ads. The fact that people are engaging with it so well means that people are enjoying the experience.
“We’re really lucky too, because we’re plugging into US and Yahoo! globally and off the back of that they’re finding solutions to problems that we haven’t necessarily identified here yet. The US launched native at the start of 2014, and it represented 20% of their advertising revenue last year. We’ve taken some of those learnings and put an Australia and New Zealand lens on it. In a mobile-first world, native is a really compelling way to communicate.”
[blockquote style=”3″]CV: Paul Sigaloff
Before joining his former Fairfax colleague Ed Harrison at Yahoo7, Sigaloff enjoyed a varied career across the media spectrum. “I started in radio, although I did an undergraduate thesis on the future of ITV [in the UK]. Then there was this little thing called the internet bubbling away – I joined Virgin.net as the fourth employee with a guy called Alex Dale and of course Richard Branson. At that stage it was an ISP and a portal, and I built an ad sales team there in the late 90s. Then I moved to Channel 4 and ended up in the lofty heights of deputy head of new media. After I did some digital work in radio, I got a tap on the shoulder to come to Fairfax in 2009. Fairfax was really in a bit of disarray then, and we spent a lot of time getting organised – we were the third digital publisher in terms of size and revenue, and we got it up to #1. I was approached by Yahoo7, and met with both Marissa [Mayer] and the Seven West Media guys. The opportunity came to take the best bits from both parents, and I’ve been here for 13 months now.” [/blockquote]