Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Introduces Katie Couric, New Digital Features at CES

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer Introduces Katie Couric,

Yahoo is rolling out a new suite of apps that re-package news, images and video into highly stylized magazines, newsletters and program guides.

The move is part of Marissa Mayer’s push over the past 16 months to restructure Yahoo and simplify the company into four areas: search, communication, digital magazines and video. That’s being done by better integrating new acquisitions like Aviate and older ones like Tumblr into the company’s products.

“Media has long been one of Yahoo’s key strengths,” Mayer said to a packed house of around 1,700 during her first keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday at the LVH Theater.

And it’s clear media will continue to be a focus for the company moving forward, especially as more of its 400 million monthly users make the switch to mobile devices.

Mayer cited how smartphone usage has increased by 27% and use of tablets increased 78% over the past year. With 4.8 billion mobile devices in the market in 2017, how Yahoo looks on mobile platforms will be key to its growth, Mayer said.

Yahoo’s Smart TV group introduced a new graphic-heavy Yahoo Smart Guide meant to offer up recommendations on what movies and TV shows to watch, based on preferences. It has seen tablet usage spike during the primetime hours of 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., the company said.

Mayer brought out Katie Couric, “SNL’s” Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson, and John Legend during the presentation, with the latter performing three songs. Exclusive content deals with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC Sports and CBS TV Distribution’s “The Insider” (which dropped “omg!” from its name this week in conjunctions with Yahoo’s rebranding of its omg! site to Yahoo Celebrity).

Interestingly, sports was mostly left out of the hour-long discussion, unusual for male-dominated convention which has football or soccer broadcasts playing on the flatscreens on display at most of the booths from major electronics makers.

Instead, former New York Times staffer David Pogue presented Yahoo Tech, his new digital magazine that presents technology stories to general readers in a tile-like format without banner ads. Magazine launched Tuesday as an app.

Yahoo Tech is one of many new digital magazines the company is launching to offer up news and articles to its users in a new format. Yahoo Food was also one Mayer mentioned.

In fact, “we found inspiration from the elegance in magazines” for many of Yahoo’s new products, Mayer said.

In fact, the new Yahoo relies less on clickable links and emphasizes photos and graphics.

Yahoo introduced Yahoo News Digest as a way to deliver short news stories to readers in a digest that’s sent out twice a day. The mobile-based digest is meant to combat the issue of “tl;dr” which stands for “too long, didn’t read,” Mayer said.

Couric briefly discussed her desire to conduct interviews on a digital platform, an impetus for signing her rich deal with Yahoo.

“Technology has connected us to the world,” Couric said. “Anyone with a cell phone and Twitter account can be a reporter. Linking has often replaced reporting,” creating a need for more professional journalism online.

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  1. Lao Xun Ke says:

    Ms. Mayer is biting off a lot more than she can chew – and we can comfortably digest. Yahoo’s website lay-out is poorly organized; news categories are consistently a mess by design; the new mail setup is bizarre – when it works.
    There’s nothing simplified here – Ms. Mayer alienates readers/users with bottom-line stuff being cumbersome, thus turns them off to whatever else she just must do for the world this very minute!
    Yahoo is out of control – because she’s not in control!

  2. eqquesz says:

    Good move with Katie Couric , Yahoo. You just earned my attention another year- What ‘s she gonna wear, first?

  3. mickrussom says:

    Ugh. These two sicken me. Especially Katie, but slave driving have a nursery in her office but wont let anyone telecommute in the age of information, tele presence and internet is a real JERK. Marissa, the slaver driving JERK.

  4. Very interesting, I doubt it will be long before these former search engine giants (Yahoo, Google) now media “providers” begin directly funding TV and Feature Films. Perhaps the traditional Hollywood studios will soon have powerful digital tech rivals…

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