Yahoo Livestand: 3 key elements for publishers


Yahoo launched its Livestand social news app for the iPad on Wednesday. Introduced way back in February, the HTML5-based app lets users personalize content from Yahoo and other publishers.

“Livestand weaves together content from leading third-party publishers and Yahoo!’s global media network to create a visually stunning and deeply personalized digital experience tailored for you and your interests and passions,” Yahoo proclaimed on its blog. Personalization is based on the user’s Facebook activity and other reading behavior.

Livestand joins an increasingly crowded market for news reader apps – from startups such as Flipboard and Zite (the latter recently purchased by CNN) to established media players including AOL. Google is also reportedly close to launching an entry of its own, called Propeller.

There are three key elements of Livestand that can help publishers with their tablet marketing and distribution strategies:

Content distribution

Livestand features a mix of Yahoo and third-party content. Yahoo announced several media partners (Yahoo claims more than 100 content sources) who will contribute content, including ABC News, Bonnier (Parenting magazine), Forbes and Scientific American.

Syndication on a Yahoo platform could extend the reach of publisher content to a broad audience – Yahoo’s Web properties attract more than 175 million unique users – that is likely just beginning to warm up to tablets. Publishers will also get a share of the revenue (about 30 percent, according to Ad Age) on ads that Yahoo sells against their content.

App development

The technology behind Livestand is called Cocktails, which Yahoo describes as “a mix of HTML5, Node.JS, CSS3, JavaScript and a lot of ingenious, creative mind-bending tricks from Yahoo’s engineers.”

The first two “Cocktails” are called Mojito, a cross-platform JavaScript web application framework, and Manhattan, a hosted platform for Mojito-based applications. Yahoo plans to release both components as open source in 2012, which could aid publishers’ own app development efforts.

Interactive ads

Yahoo also new ad units designed for tablets. According to ClickZ, these units “include ‘living ads,’ with interactive, video and motion-sensing capabilities; rich media ads, centered on animation; and image ads, most akin to a print ad.”

More premium ad units – Ad Age says Yahoo is charging advertisers as much as $500,000 for a sponsorship package – will eventually drive more brand advertising dollars to the Web, which will benefit all publishers.


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