The New York Times reports that Yahoo is shifting focus away from creating traditional, TV-like content on the Web to a major focus on bottom-up material. Key passage:
With advertisers moving large parts of their budgets online, the market for content, created by professionals, bloggers and individual users, is expanding rapidly — as is the competition. Major media companies are developing video-based programming for the Internet. Myspace.com, purchased last year by the News Corporation, has become a major site based on user-contributed content. Many start-ups, like youtube.com, seek to follow suit.
Indeed, Mr. Braun said yesterday that the way to keep users on Yahoo’s site longer — and thus be able to show them more advertising — was to offer ways they can create their own content and look at content created by others. He pointed to the site Yahoo built for the 2006 Winter Olympics, which prominently featured photographs from Flickr, Yahoo’s photo-sharing site, along with articles both by news agencies and by a few columnists exclusive to Yahoo.
“I now get excited about user-generated content the way I used to get excited about thinking about what television shows would work,” he said.
The story says Lloyd Braun, who’d been widely expected to be leaving the company, planned to stay. If he’s really serious about “user-generated content” (an expression that I loathe) that’s a surprise to me, given his history. His turnaround is an admission that he didn’t grasp what the Web was about — and I give him points for admitting it.
Yahoo has been a leader in the bottom-up space for some time. The grassroots need even more help, and this could be a big boost.