Yahoo to Expand Brand Universe Content

Yahoo Media Group is moving to organize the many vertical areas the company has specific content focused on and funnel that material into new areas called Brand Universes. These new, hyper-vertical areas will feature text, images, blogs, and video. The Media Group has announced the first six content topics, and is plans to reach 100 such Brand Universes by year’s end.

Until now, the portal has segregated blogs, breaking news, video previews and other content centering, for example, on the TV show “Lost,” into separate areas within the network with little interconnection, said Vince Broady, head of games/entertainment/youth. Branded Universes will collect the various media at a single location focused on a brand selected by Yahoo.

“We don’t connect the dots for users on Yahoo,” said Broady at a luncheon at Yahoo headquarters in San Francisco. “So Brand Universe is designed to fix that problem.”

Broady’s Yahoo Media Group division the has selected video games “The Sims” and “Halo,” TV shows “Lost” and “The Office,” and franchises Harry Potter and Transformers, as the first six Branded Universes. No release date is set for these sites, but the first Branded Universe test focused on the Wii game platform, and was launched last October. The Wii site saw 1.2 million unique page views in of November, according to Broady.

Yahoo is not, however, allowing marketers a voice in what becomes a Branded Universe, nor seeking licensing for the content.

“You can’t buy your way onto our list. We’re doing what makes sense for the users,” said Broady. “Yahoo has loved to work with brand owners, but we’ve shown we don’t need them to promote the content. We don’t pay a license, we’re tapping a community within Yahoo.”

Although the Wii Branded Universe did run with video game and movie sponsorships, Yahoo doesn’t expect to monetize or provide advertising on each specific Brand Universe until a later date, according to Broady. And while it may be hard to think of a reason why a brand owner may not want Yahoo to create a free branded site focused specifically on its topic, Broady also says if an owner doesn’t want a Branded Universe, it won’t get one.

In addition to Branded Universes, Yahoo Games/Entertainment/Youth is shifting its focus to target the 13-34 year old demographic, according to Broady, and will rework Yahoo Games, Yahoo TV,Yahoo Movies,jk and Yahoo Studios reach them.

The Yahoo Media Group is comprised of three divisions spanning 10 content verticals: News, Finance, Tech, Lifestyles, Sports, Music, TV, Movies, Studios, and Games

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