With an imminent sale of its core assets looming, Yahoo said Monday at Cannes Lions that it's increasing the emphasis on branded content creation with an initiative called Storytellers. Brands including JetBlue, Dasani and Farmers Insurance have signed up, according to the company.
Storytellers is a content marketing studio for brands and agencies that gives them access to the company's editorial team as well as its 165 billion daily data points and native-like advertising through Yahoo Gemini, the company's marketlace for native and search, according to Yahoo. Storytellers will also offer services such as content consulting, workshops, premium video development, access to social-media influencers, distribution and metrics.
The program appears to be a marshalling and rebranding of existing capabilities more than a creation from scratch.
"The difference now is we're framing it in a more formal program called Yahoo Storytellers," said Lisa Utzschneider, chief revenue officer at Yahoo. "We will especially be leveraging the data that Yahoo has so that we are able to demonstrate the ROI with the branded storytelling we are doing with marketers."
Yahoo will not be hiring additional staffing for the new Storytellers platform, but strive to involve existing employees with brands earlier in the creative process. "When marketers are creating a story and creating their content marketing strategy we are going to be in the room with them early," she said.
"Content marketing continues to be an area of growth for brands and agencies, but they need a better way to create compelling content that's informed by data and reaches the right audience," she added.
Content marketing comprises $26.5 billion in global spending among outside vendors' work for brands, according to PQ Media. The number climbs to $144 billion when internally generated content activities, like those of Red Bull and its Red Bull Media House are factored in. And continued double-digit percentage growth worldwide will push content marketing to $313 billion, all in, by the end of the decade, PQ Media said.
Ms. Utzschneider said that despite the impending sale of Yahoo to either telecommunications giant Verizon or AT&T, the company is "heads down driving our business."
"We are focused on innovative ways to connect marketers with consumers and we will continue to innovate," she said.
The final round of bidding for Yahoo, which is valued between $4 billion and $8 billion, includes telecom giants Verizon and AT&T as well as private equity firms TPG, Advent International and a partnership of Sycamore Partners and Vector Capital, according to Bloomberg.