February 5, 2007
Yahoo! Brand Universe and OurCity

While C3 partners MTV Networks and Turner Broadcasting have made our news this past week, there's also been some interesting developments with Yahoo!, another partner in the consortium.

The company's plan to create a new approach to linking sites called "Brand Universe" broke during the week, with the company publicly discussing a new strategy to create more efficient links to entertainment content that stretch across the various Yahoo! services and Web sites.

The plan is to pick 100 "high-profile" contemporary entertainment properties and create sites dedicated to them. This will include movie properties and popular television shows and video games, as well as video game platforms, as well as particular celebrities. In particular, the company is hoping to target properties that appeal to 13-to-34s.

The idea is that Yahoo! content has been fragmented in the past, divided by media format and without any content links. Instead of dividing media information in flickr and Yahoo TV and fan forums, the idea is to create a site that will link all of that content together so that people can access the info by entertainment property across all of Yahoo!'s platforms.

Of course, the site promises not just to be more convenient and accessible but hopefully to drive more traffic as well, a benefit to the entertainment properties and advertisers involved. The idea would be to push Brand Universe as a great venue for cross-platform advertising, with all of the various platforms with content about a specific media property all being in one convenient location. With increased traffic would come more involved advertising opportunities.

The first example of branching across various Yahoo! platforms was with the Yahoo! Wii page. In response, British media blogger Wayne Smallman writes, "By way of a baptism of fire, Yahoo! have also used this as an opportunity to showcase some 'mashups' magic .. if that's what their efforts are to be considered."

What Smallman is referring to are these properties which aim to branch across del.icio.us, MyWeb, Yahoo Ansers, Yahoo Games, flickr, Yahoo TV, and all the other Yahoo sites.

Smallman now writes, "And with their recent acquisitions of the likes of Del.icio.us, MyBlogLog and Flickr, they're in a strong position to tie these applications together with some good social glue and do all kinds of crazy things, such as create the Brand Universe concept, for example."

The company is taking a similar approach with cities as well, with the OurCity campaign. OurCity, in its beta form, has sites for Bangalore and Delhi. This brings together media from all Yahoo! services about that city in particular.

In this case, convergence can be localized.

No one at Yahoo! was consulted about either of these properties, but I think both are a step in the right direction. Users don't care about technologies or platforms in the long run past the content they deliver. Grouping information by content in the way Brand Universe and OurCity does provides a more useful tool for users and advertisers alike, helping to bridge the current service overflow consumers have to deal with.