So Disney bought Maker Studios which gives them a stronger online presence and more video creation capability. Meanwhile, Yahoo is now rumored to be buying NDN – News Distribution Network Inc. Is it a plan to rival Google for online video supremacy or are they looking to take a bigger chunk of the online news video pie? We all know that Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s Chief Exec, is big on online video, so this could just be another step in her plan to make Yahoo a major force in that arena.
You may think this is old news, as Yahoo has been courting NDN for some time off and on according to rumors. But seeing how major media companies are taking a big interest in online video companies, we could be seeing a trend of consolidation of companies involved in online video this year, a trend I first suggested back in one of my year end articles, a sort of media meets tech merger and acquisition festival.
But NDN is a different sort of online video company. They don’t make video, Yahoo already has some capabilities to do that, instead, they have created a library of hundreds of thousands of videos from local TV news which can then be repurposed online by non-video news agencies. NDN is a perfect addition to Yahoo News, and the 4th largest online video property according to comScore, with 51,353,000 unique visitors. Add that to Yahoo’s 5th place 44,897,000 and that would be enough to put them in second place, according to the January numbers, but still 60M short of Google’s vast empire.
NDN also has ad space they sell with the video library which creates a revenue stream and will surely be filled with ads from Yahoo’s network if the two merge. However, neither of the companies show up in the top 10 video ad properties according to comScore though. That means neither is showing a half billion ads a month, but together they may reach that level with ease.
Add all that speculation to reports that Yahoo has been talking with YouTube creators about posting videos on their network and it seems that Ms. Mayer believes she can create a contender to the world’s largest video site. However, they don’t even have their own search engine, as it’s powered by Bing. So they might acquire a massive pile of new video content, but discovery could still be an issue in the long run.
If Yahoo is going to try and become a major force and challenge YouTube it’s going to have to figure out that vital portion of the puzzle first. It can acquire all the content it likes and place ads against it, but if it can’t be found by the users then the monetization potential is much lower than one might think. So I have to believe that they are either working on a new video discovery system themselves, or we will see a major deal or partnership with a video discovery and recommendation platform.