Web Video Allure Behind Yahoo’s $160M Maven Buy

Yahoo today purchased online video provider Maven Networks for about $160 million, in a move to help the Internet giant expand its inventory of video content.

The deal comes as Yahoo is facing an increasingly hostile acquisition offer of its own from Microsoft.

In any event, the Maven buy gives Yahoo control of more ad-supported video — a move that could better position it to capitalize on the hot market for such content.

[cob:Related_Articles]”Video is projected to be the fastest growing segment of the online ad market,” said Hilary Schneider, Yahoo’s executive vice president for global partnerships, in a statement.

Maven enables professional media companies to create and distribute direct-to-consumer online video. Partners include Fox News, Sony BMG and Gannett.

The Web portal also plans for Maven’s platform to complement its search and display offerings, the company said.

In addition to enabling media partners to manage and distribute Internet video, the firm’s technology offers dynamic advertising insertion into video streams.

“Maven will significantly help advance Yahoo’s strategy, expanding the video opportunity for publishers and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers,” Schneider said. “This is a big win for publishers, advertisers, consumers and for Yahoo.”

The effort aims to boost Yahoo’s capabilities in the video ad sector — a field still nascent but widely expected to grow significantly in coming years. One hurdle Yahoo faces is that online video is dominated by an entrenched rival, Google’s YouTube.

Yet YouTube may not be unassailable. Lawsuits from media companies claim the site is a haven for illegally posted copyrighted material.

Google, meanwhile, has said it removes any videos it finds shouldn’t be posted. It’s also working to develop more sophisticated video ID technology to enable media companies to identify and block such material from being posted.

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