November 3, 2004
The management face of Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) continues to evolve, and the picture that is emerging more closely resembles an entertainment company than a technology outfit. The latest addition to the top brass suggests that the Internet giant's focus on original and exclusive content is growing.
On Tuesday, Yahoo! announced that it had appointed Lloyd Braun as head of the company's media and entertainment unit. Braun has long been in the traditional media field and most recently served as chairman for Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) ABC Television Entertainment unit, where he headed up the development of several hit TV shows, including the critically acclaimed Lost.
In disclosing the news, Yahoo! explained how it expects to leverage Braun's expertise. COO Dan Rosensweig lauded Braun's connections as well as his "proven creative instincts" and remarked that he expects Braun will facilitate work with "creative partners to deliver exciting new content." Rosensweig further noted that "growing consumer demand for compelling content on the Internet and the rapid proliferation of broadband is an exciting growth opportunity for Yahoo!"
The Braun hiring isn't the first sign that the creative world is likely to be an important part of Yahoo!'s future. CEO Terry Semel himself previously led Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) Warner Bros. What's more, this summer the company repositioned a top executive to concentrate exclusively on sealing advertising and content deals with the television and movie studios.
All of this focus on the creative side of things may herald a new stage in Yahoo!'s development. So far the firm has operated primarily as a channel for others' content, but that may not be the long-term vision. Yahoo!'s reported interest in MarketWatch (Nasdaq: MKTW ) , which admittedly is not necessarily an entertainment property, is nevertheless a sign of the Internet powerhouse's willingness to venture into the business of developing original material. With Braun on board, Yahoo! may be thinking about taking that idea even further.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer living in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned here.