Katie Couric may move to Yahoo (YHOO) to host an online interview show that will be aired on Yahoo.com. While talks are still underway, it appears that the veteran news anchor will not pass up on this offer.
Currently working at ABC, Couric is now in the second season of her ABC talk show. But the show, "Katie" on the Disney-owned television channel will probably not be renewed. While theoretically Couric can still hold on to her talk show for a third season, the network may want to jettison it. The show itself is not a flop-it has had good ratings-but it is incurring significant costs. In addition to her own daytime talk show, Couric is an ABC news special correspondent.
While ABC, Yahoo, and Couric's spokesperson have not confirmed this move, indications are strong that Couric is planning to join Yahoo. Numerous news sources believe that Couric is in the process of discussing an exit package with ABC. An exit deal will free her from a 3-year contract with ABC news that binds her to only producing news segments for its network.
Before joining ABC a little less than 3 years ago, Couric anchored CBS's evening news. Prior to joining CBS, she had a long stint on the "Today" show at NBC.
Marissa Mayer's Premium Content Strategy
Couric's possible position as a global anchorperson on Yahoo is another strong move by Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO. The company hopes to attract heavy traffic to its many websites. Grabbing big names to improve Yahoo's content marketing is part of Yahoo's premium content strategy. Prior to charming Couric, Mayer had already enticed the highly popular New York Times technology reviewer, David Pogue, to join Yahoo.
It is not clear when Couric will be a new anchor on Yahoo. Some sources indicate an announcement will come on Monday, November 25th. Other sources speculate that it will not be until December, when Couric's daytime talk show comes to a finish and November television show ratings are finished up.
Yahoo Reinvents Itself
Since she took over as CEO in July last year, Mayer has made major shifts in Yahoo. Over the year and a half she has served as CEO, she has created a new logo, has redesigned popular Yahoo apps, and has made some dazzling acquisitions. What's more, she has bolstered sagging morale at Yahoo by giving Yahoo employees some Google-style perks.
The result of these initiatives can be measured in numbers. Yahoo's stock has risen by almost 130%.
Mayer's Alibaba Stake
Today Yahoo has a 24 percent stake in Alibaba. Although Yahoo's prime income source, its advertising business, remains problematic, Yahoo shares have gone up over the past year thanks to Mayer's foresight. One way to gauge the financial clout of Alibaba, a fourteen year old company started by an English teacher from Hangzhou, is to compare it with cyber retailing giants in the U.S.
Alibaba is a blend of Amazon.com (AMZN), eBay (EBAY), PayPal, and Google (GOOG). While Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) are famous for offering the biggest IPOs in the technology sector, their stunning record could be eclipsed by Alibaba's IPO which Yahoo currently holds a 24% position in this valuable Chinese Company.
Consequently, Mayer's latest strategic stir, her plan to hire Couric is just another example of the major buzz she has stirred for Yahoo.
It's Not the Same Yahoo Anymore
Prior to Mayer's tenure, Yahoo had been in trouble. Their core business - offering search and monetizing traffic through display ads - had been struggling for three years. Sales had fallen because of Google's domination of the search engine market and their robust pay-per-click advertising revenue model. Sales had also plummeted due to a sluggish economy. Fewer businesses were aggressively advertising.
Mayer is moving away from the previous marketing strategy of over-reliance on Yahoo's search and advertising revenue. Instead of trying harder like previous CEOs, attempting to beat Google at the search engine game--which it has long since mastered--she is trying something different. Her lateral thinking strategy appears to be working well for the Silicon Valley Internet powerhouse.