Home Yahoo CEO Terry Semel conversation

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel conversation

Very interesting John Battelle-hosted conversation with Terry Semel, Yahoo CEO, at the conference. The difference between outlook and attitude between Semel and Barry Diller is stark. On the one hand, Diller’s conversation yesterday was very much old-media, 20th century thinking. Semel on the other hand very much impressed me with his take on what is required for 21st century media. I’ll write more detailed notes later, but here are some quick takeaways:

– Yahoo! is both a media and tech company and Semel said *both* are required for a 21st C media company.

– “Yahoo is all about content” –> user-generated, professional, and the future of what content may be (which Yahoo will try to take a leadership position in designing).

– on competing with Diller. They will compete in some verticals, but Yahoo will have a much broader selection.

– Y! is “creating a whole new experience” in media and Semel will judge Lloyd Braun on results in 12-18mths (i.e. not rushing to judgement)

– Lot of interesting talk on Y! competing with Google. Semel says Google has done great with search, but they don’t have the pillars of Y! –> content, personalization, communications, shopping, etc.

– even though Google is “starting to look like more of a portal” (referencing all the things Google is doing currently), Semel rates Google as the #4 portal.

– mentions Google has lots of beta products and “so far don’t seem to have a real plan”

– Y! monetizing better than Google, says Semel –> communications products and content are the 2 main forms of monetization

– “we’ll always be more open than they [Google] are” –> Y! has/will have open platform; incl ability for people to publish on the Web

– big change on the Internet; deeper engagement, more time spent, more user satisfaction

– personalization, community, content on platforms, search –> Y! has “much richer experience” [than Goog search]

qst from audience (Dare from MSN): what’s Y!’s biggest strength and competitors biggest weakness: Semel said Y! has much more diversified model, well-positioned for user-generated content, community, etc. Other companies [he meant Goog!] weakness is not positioning for that.

Next qst re user-generated content. Semel said that user-generated content is “of utmost importance” to Y! – “gigantic piece of what we do”. He says “content in general is going to be more and more important”

– new media requires new paradigms, going forward. And Y! won’t have to choose between user-generated and professional content – market/users will decide and Y!’s goal is to monetize as much as possible.

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