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Yahoo Seeks to Cash in on London Olympics

May 02, 2012


Yahoo may be on the cusp of a turnaround. The company shook up its executive team, and its website saw a seven percent increase in viewership in January and February 2012. Now, to cash in on an income stream that proved profitable in the past, Yahoo has decided to double its presence at the London Olympics this summer.

Ross Levinson, Yahoo’s head of global media, stated that the games will be the company’s “biggest revenue driver by a long shot.” The company plans to send 25 correspondents to cover the London Olympics, including U.S. Olympics gold medalists Dan O’Brien and Shannon Miller. The games will also be covered by Yahoo in dozens of languages.

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver saw Yahoo as the top performing website. The site boasted 32 million unique visitors and 254 million page views. By contrast, NBC Sports, the second most popular site for the Vancouver Games, saw just 19 million unique visitors and 251 million page views. NBC also lost $200 million on the Vancouver Games.

According to Levinson, Yahoo will air five times the quantity of video coverage of previous games as it broadcasts from the London Olympics.

Industry analysts say that the Olympics strategy is a test of Levinson’s expanded role as head of global media. Previously, Levinson was head of media for the Americas.

Yahoo saw a revenue increase of one percent for the first quarter of 2012. Scott Thompson, CEO of Yahoo, said, “In the first quarter, Yahoo’s results came in at the high end of our guidance range and beat consensus on revenue and profits. We also made changes to resize the organization and establish a new leadership structure to quickly deliver the best user and advertiser experiences at scale.”

Yahoo also sued Facebook in an effort to protect intellectual property rights as well as its investments in innovative technologies. Facebook (News - Alert) countersued, stating that Yahoo had infringed on 10 of its own patents.

Yahoo also announced that it was cutting 2,000 jobs. The cuts should deliver about $375 million in annual revenue.

Edited by Brooke Neuman