interview


Yahoo!: “We ensure that our cross-platform apps are built for mobile first”

Denise Parkinson, entertainment partnerships director, Yahoo!, UK

Denise Parkinson, entertainment partnerships director, Yahoo!, UK, is speaking as part of the Innovate! Track on Day Two of the Broadband World Forum 2012, taking place on the 16 – 18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We catch up with her to get her views on how connected devices are making content providers think differently about how they approach the market.

What exciting opportunities do you see for Yahoo! from the proliferation of smart, connected devices?

These devices offer a great new platform to reach consumers and we have already developed some great services and executed some fantastic creative to take advantage of this. Yahoo!’s IntoNow app in the US has proved a major hit, tapping into the second screen trend by enabling users to share what they’re watching on TV through smartphones and social networks. IntoNow was recently named Time Magazine’s number one app, and this has been followed launch of Y! Reporter. Y! Reporter feeds into the trend of content from anyone, anywhere, by enabling consumers’ pictures and videos to be uploaded through mobile devices and used on Yahoo!’s content network. There are more exciting opportunities all the time.

In what ways can mobile, connected, location aware devices help Yahoo! differentiate itself from others in its space?

Location-based services and engagement is something that Yahoo! and many other companies have been providing in recent years. The things that set Yahoo! apart here are the apps like Y! Reporter, combined with our mobile reach, which encapsulates one in five mobile internet users in the UK.

What are the challenges you expect to face as we move from fixed to mobile centric applications and services?

There are always going to be challenges around technology and engagement methods when it comes to new platforms, but as long as you get the approach right the opportunities far outweigh these. This move has given us more channels and greater scope for innovation when it comes to engaging consumers, and a recent report from the Nielsen Company showed that almost three quarters of user of both tablet and smartphones use their devices while watching TV. This demonstrates the convergence and complementary nature of channels and the need for an integrated approach.

What principles does Yahoo! adhere to when building customer-friendly apps and services?

The key principal for building any new app or service should be to do your research. Rather than just flooding the market, at Yahoo! we are looking to ensure that we do our homework on what is required by our customers. This helps us to ensure we provide a premium experience and launch new services at the right time.

Would Yahoo! look to custom build applications for individual mobile platforms or take a one size fits all approach?

To ensure a premium experience, it’s crucial to always build or tailor applications and services for different platforms as these are so diverse that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will often diminish the experience. At Yahoo! we focus on ensuring that our cross-platform applications are built for mobile first and then engineered for online. A great example is Yahoo! Axis, which seamlessly integrates a visual search experience on your iPhone and iPad with your favourite desktop browser.

What new partnership opportunities do you expect to emerge for Yahoo! as consumers becomes increasingly connected?

There are many potential partnerships in this area, involving both content or apps and services themselves. Essentially we are interested in anything that can help users become more engaged through multiple devices.

How might existing business models have to be adapted as consumer connectivity increases?

As connectivity has increased there has been a power shift towards the consumer, and the key to evolving in-line with this is flexibility. A recent Ipsos and Yahoo! survey found that more than 70 per cent of people prefer websites that they can access on both their PC and mobile devices. This reinforces the need to provide consumers with services and apps that they can access through the platform of their choice and this is no different when it comes to business models – there is an increasing demand to serve different models for the environment that works best for your customers.

The Broadband World Forum 2012 is taking place on the 16 – 18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Click here now to register your interest.


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