Yahoo! buys ad technology company

Updated: Feb 26 2008, 07:37am hrs
Even as Yahoo tries to stay out of Microsofts grip, the company is busy closing acquisitions of its own.

Yahoo said that it had paid $160 million to acquire Maven Networks, an Internet company that sells a system for managing advertisements in online videos.

Traditional media outlets like Fox News, CBS Sports, Hearst and The Financial Times use Mavens technology to show and distribute videos, as well as for other tasks, such as identifying the right moment during a video to show a particular ad.

Yahoo, which is trying to position itself as a seller and distributor of all types of online ads, said the acquisition would help it sell and deliver video ads not only on its own site but on other sites across the Web. We really see this deal with Maven as creating one of the most robust video platforms in the industry, said Hilary Schneider, an executive vice-president who oversees Yahoos network of advertisers and publishers.

Yahoo will integrate Mavens advertising technology and video ads with new formats that it has been experimenting with, like clickable ads, which take up only a small portion of the video box, and interactive ads, which begin with a short clip and then shrink to a small stripe.

Yahoo said that both formats have proved far more effective than preroll ads, which are ads that appear before the content the viewer is trying to see.

Advertisers are spending just $775 million on online video ads, a fraction of the $20 billion spent on Internet ads in the US last year, according to eMarketer, an online advertising research firm. Analysts expect video ads to become far more common as technology improves, allowing advertisers to use sight, sound and motion in their online ads.

NY Times / Louise Story & Miguel Helft