Here at The Motley Fool, we believe individual investors should have the same access to information that Wall Street has. In that spirit, we've listened in on some investment-bank conferences with major companies and are giving you the rundown. We call this feature "Fool on the Street."
At last week's Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Yahoo!
New age, new ideas
Ms. Decker started off by describing how the advertising market is changing. Online marketing used to be an afterthought, something an advertiser threw in if there was any budget left after TV, radio, newspaper, and billboard advertising. Now, major advertisers like Pepsi
All video, all the time
When Semel took the spotlight, he drew attention to the company's new video offerings. Rather than presenting a stand-alone audiovisual service a la YouTube or Google Video, Yahoo! chose to tie its video offerings into pretty much every part of its portal. It's an "infrastructure to serve video throughout the Yahoo platform, anywhere and almost any place on Yahoo," he said. "And so whether you're in sports or whether you're in games or whether you're in finance or whether you're in autos, we wanted to have the video capabilities of a better site, better things to do on Yahoo and better for our advertisers and more opportunities for the advertisers."
Eventually, Semel thinks we'll stop talking about "video" and just call it "content," on a level with the mostly text-based content we're used to. As Yahoo! and others start to figure out how to make money from showing us videos online, the distinction between this medium and text will begin to fade away.
A very important part of that process is convincing the content producers -- that is, traditional media companies like Disney
Semel sees two major growth opportunities for his company, and plans to go after both in 2007. One is the growing number of total Internet users, especially as the Net expands into developing nations and further permeates the huge Far East markets. "Yahoo [is] very well positioned in Asia", he said, and noted that many reports predict an 80% larger global Internet user base in the next three years.
On top of that, use of mobile devices like smartphones is growing like a wildfire -- particularly in those emerging markets. That's not just great for Nokia
The Panama platform piggybacks on all of that. Apart from the morale boost the two executives reported coming from the completion of such a large and ambitious project, there's also the ongoing redesign of Yahoo!'s pages -- starting last year with the relaunched front page and a beta version of Yahoo! Mail -- that will eventually spread throughout the entire product portfolio. Decker said that "a third of our page was not very relevant," in terms of helping users find the information they needed. The redesign should help maintain or maybe even boost the company's search traffic share. For now, Decker said that she's "extremely pleased we've been able to hold our own."
That's all, folks!
Yahoo!'s been a little bit up and a little bit down, but this Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection very clearly has some exciting opportunities in front of it. The real challenge is to squeeze every ounce of juice out of them all, or at least the ripe ones. That wraps up our report from this presentation on Yahoo!, but stay on the lookout for more "Fool on the Street" reports that bring you juicy information that only the analysts have paid attention to.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Disney shareholder, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure rules hear all and see all.