Articles of the Day

Yahoo Hires Bain To Help ‘Streamline Processes’; Layoffs To Come? — And to think what they could’ve gotten from Microsoft… Yahoo, whose stock continues to languish, has hired Bain & Co. to help it “(explore) ways to streamline our processes and bring new agility and efficiency to how we work as an organization.” in the words of spokesman Brad Williams, who spoke to Bloomberg. He says it was premature to speculate on whether the company would in fact have layoffs, but that’s often what the word “streamline” means. Valleywag has a copy of a letter sent out by Jerry Yang, in which he talks about the “great progress” the company has made, the challenges it faces in light of the economy, and the need to “get fit.” Kara Swisher has also reported that top brass is telling employees about likely layoffs. So barring some massive misreading of the tea leaves, it looks like Yahoo will soon face cutbacks. The news comes just as the board reportedly authorized merger talks with AOL (NYSE: TWX). While such a combination would likely be talked about using some lofty rhetoric about strategic synergies and whatnot—but a big part of the appeal would have to be the chance to cut costs through redundancies.

Discovery Expands Partnership With YouTube; Creating New International Channels — I recently observed firsthand how well Discovery (NSDQ: DISAB) Channel content works internationally… Now the network is expanding its use of YouTube to reach global viewers. The network (which recently became fully public), will launch a series of localized channels on YouTube to promote popular shows, like MythBusters. Meanwhile, Discovery plans to use tonight’s episode to promote the YouTube channel, where fans can submit myths they’d like to see busted. As Discovery’s current channel notes, the network has been on YouTube since 2006.

Display Ads’ Growth Rate Was Cut in Half In H108; Category Gained 8 Percent In First Six Months — Another sign of display ad spending’s travails this year… This time, TNS Media Intelligence says display grew 8 percent in H108 over the same period last year. At that time, display ads were up 17.7 percent in the first six months of ‘07 to $5.52 billion, accounting for 7.6 percent of all media ad expenditures, according to TNS. No word from the researcher as to what the share of display was from January through June this year. Still, it could be worse, as TNS points out that total ad spending during H108 fell 1.6 percent and media expenditures in Q208 was off 3.7 percent versus last year, the steepest quarterly drop since 2001.

MSN-Hearst’s JV Food Site Launched — MSN, which has decided to go the AOL way in launching standalone site, has launched its previously announced food site, the rather curiously British-named MSN is only the distributor…the main project has been executed by Hearst: Hearst Magazines Digital Media is in charge of the design, development and editorial content. MSN is responsible for ad sales and syndication of the site’s content through the MSN network. The content comes from Hearst brands,, and, plus non-Hearst brands such as EatingWell, Food & Wine, and Sterling Books. Some more details in the Hearst-owned paper Seattle PI, here. Tons of competition in the space from the likes of Scripps, CondeNast and other independent and specialized food site, so remains to be seen how Delish scales up.

NBCU’s Digital Health Net Strikes Video Deal With Six Distributors; Google TV Ads Signs Up Bloomberg — Two fledgling digital projects have struck agreements designed to give them legs: NBCU’s Digital Health adds six sites: NBC Universal’s Digital Health Network, a video-heavy ad net that was launched last spring, has added six new sites to its distribution stream. The addition of more partners come as the network is also unveiling a new video portal called Aside from content sites like the general science and tech focused redOrbit and Wellsphere, which offers answers to a range of health questions, the new additions include organizations like the American Cancer Society, library services company EBSCO Publishing, marketing firm StayHealthy and digital signage company Windstone Communications. By tying up with entities that offer more than just website placement, NBCU hopes to expand the Digital Health Network to more of a general offline audience. Bloomberg TV to use Google TV Ads: Since exiting from beta this summer, Google TV Ads has been trying to make the case for its self-serve, targeted ads to pay TV networks and marketers.

Gmarket/eBay deal gets conditional approval from FTC — Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), granted conditional approval for eBay’s bid to buy Nasdaq-listed Korean online retailer Gmarket yesterday, according to a FTC statement released on its website. The terms of FTC stated that ebay will be prohibited from increasing its commission from sales for the next three years after the acquisition and is required to restrict fee increases for registration and advertising to rates lower than the local inflation rate. Ebay, the US listed online auction company is in discussions with Interpark, the listed online Korean retailer to buy 36% stake in Gmarket. Interpark, the parent of Gmarket, said last month it had filed for approval with FTC, said a previous report. Source: mergermarket.

Yahoo Opens R&D In Grenoble; UK Too Expensive, Too Few Engineers? — Yahoo yesterday opened an R&D facility in Grenoble, France, claiming the region is becoming the “Silicon Valley of Europe” with a big pool of engineers. The new site will work on what Yahoo called its “key strategic priorities” – internationalizing Yahoo Answers and developing search, specifically semantic search. It’s also thought Yahoo’s Kelkoo shopping comparison site will be developed from there, though we know Kelkoo had a development centre in Grenoble at least as far back as 2004.

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