Last winter, Yahoo embarked on a bonafide restructure of its ad business, when it "sunset" Right Media exchange and Genome data management and rolled out the collective umbrella of Yahoo Advertising. Along with it Yahoo debuted the Yahoo Audience Ads targeting tool and self-serve ads and programmatic direct platforms Yahoo Ad Manager and Ad Manager Plus.
Yahoo in the last week has been reportedly eyeing video ad platform and exchange BrightRoll for its very own, a deal TechCrunch reported was in the midst of or nearing completion of a term-sheet stage. That deal is figured in the $700 million to $1 billion range, should it come to fruition.
BrightRoll founder and CEO Tod Sacerdoti had posited at the time of Yahoo's big ads rebrand that, "Yahoo had not released a single innovation or product based on programmatic since the purchase of Right Media," in a story on Business Insider, calling it "trendy" to talk about programmatic but noting that "it's much harder to actually innovate in programmatic."
The BrightRoll deal would make sense for Yahoo strategically if the company wants to erase bad memories of video deals gone awry (Dailymotion) and to augment its Ray-V video distribution buy with an exchange-based play, one source said.
"Tim Armstrong was largely praised for Adap.tv [at AOL] and Marissa is under pressure from shareholders," the source claimed. "It seems timely to announce a big deal and distract investors from core results." Not to say there's a direct correlation, but a hire of Utzschneider, who's current company just dropped $1 billion on video gaming platform Twitch, could be one more indicator of a burgeoning Yahoo video ads about-face.
Mayer has been routinely asked to defend Yahoo's recruitment strategy. Former Googler Henrique de Castro, recruited by the CEO herself to be Yahoo's chief operating officer in December 2012, was abruptly let go last April. Whether Mayer's swoop-in on Amazon's six-year ad vet (read AdExchanger Q&A) is a redemptory move for Mayer, is the question.