On the outset, during the Yahoo’s earnings conference call for the quarter ending March 31st 2009, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz identified three goals for the company:
1. Globalizing the platform
2. Building “Wow” products, and
3. Create Industry-leading ad platforms
Later in the call, Bartz did mention that in the case of the International segment, emerging markets have had an exceptional quarter, but on a small base. “We are encouraged by that growth.” Note that Canada is a part of Yahoo’s International segment.
Globalization: A Global Yahoo Platform
Yahoo plans to invest in a global platform – in the past, the International properties have had to fend for themselves, and have been built separately. An an illustration of the issues, Bartz said that “We have a new homepage coming – and it can’t be implemented across the board easily because it has to be implemented for each platform. In this day and age…so there is a need to globalize. ”
Yahoo had announced plans to reduce their employee count by 5% – that’s around 675 employees of a headcount of around 13,500. The company says that the layoffs will not be across the board – they will look to reduce overlaps in work, particularly since segments have been shut down. Bartz said that the layoffs will not be across the board – they’ll look to reduce overlaps in work. Yahoos will also combine product and engineering teams. Bartz had this to say on product plans:
“As far as the investment in the global platform is concerned – the real important issue of our reorg was to get engineering focus…we’re sort of scattered to the wind – engineers in almost every country, and way too many product people. We have one product management person for every three engineers. So we had a lot of people running around telling people what to do, but no one was f**king doing anything[…]The point is that we’re getting all the engineers on the same page. We’re getting rid of a lot of those product people […] It just made sense to us to do this cost cutting so that we can hire more engineers, and get some focus on the right stuff. ”
There was more pressure in display advertising than search. Search revenue declined 3%. US search and operated revenue grew 3%. Anticipated lower fee revenues from broadband services. Revenue per search (RPS) declined due to softnewss in click yields. Clickthrough rates decreased, and this is an industrywide trend.
In the search market – consumer products, tech, entertainment are strong. Travel and retail decline offsets this, and the credit card and financial sector were down. Display revenue from automobile was down. Ther are spending shifts taking place – in particular, telecom players are increasing spending, and they’re spending to get marketshare. Telecom revenue grew in Q1. Yahoo believes that advertising will recover
“Brand advertising is not going to go away. You have to have control of what your company stands for,” CEO Carol Bartz said. Something unique to Yahoo: “all the companies who are under siege because of negative attention will need to rebrand to build consumer trust, and they will want to associate with brands like ours – brand advertisng will grow with economic recovery.”
Pageviews grew 8% in Q1 – page view growth is across properties. We have closed a number of properties, and some will impact pageviews. A bulk of those properties are smaller.
Bartz saluted the mobile team – saying that the response to Yahoo Mobile is overwhelming.
Do read our coverage of Yahoo’s financial results here.
(Updates: Updated comments on engineers and product managers based on earnings call recording)