Yahoo Exec Touts Success of 'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' Premiere Coverage

 Summit Entertainment

NEW YORK - Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo's executive vice president, Americas didn't have any updates on the Internet company's possible next CEO here on Tuesday, but he touted the company's present success with premium and events content.

"This company is just rocking," offering all sorts of great content and events and striking new content deals in the past couple of months, he said.

Speaking at Ad Age's ME Conference: Media Evolved exactly a year after he took his job at Yahoo, the industry veteran said what has amazed him about Yahoo is "just how big the scale is" of the firm's reach.

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For example, Levinsohn said Monday's live stream of the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 premiere event on Yahoo reached twice the amount of people watching “at the same time” that the premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 premiere had drawn for Yahoo in 2007. He didn't have specific figures to share though.

A spokeswoman said the event drew the largest simultaneous audience for a live movie premiere in Yahoo history.

Levinsohn on Tuesday also said that Yahoo attracted almost 25 million views of another big event and related content last month over the course of several days. The event with former President Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga, Bono, The Edge, Stevie Wonder, Usher and others was the stream of a Hollywood Bowl concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Foundation.

"Not all content is created equal," Levinsohn said, pointing out that Yahoo's Web video series have also been dominating the top 10 rankings. And "premium content [gets] premium advertising."

That is also why Yahoo decided to get out of user generated content about a year ago, he said.

He pointed to a recent content partnership with ABC News as another example for the company's progress.

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Asked if he saw potential in Yahoo being a growth company again versus being a more traditional media firm like a CBS Corp., Levinsohn said he liked Yahoo's chances. He also said nobody should underestimate CBS though, quipping that "based on [CEO] Mr. [Leslie] Moonves' pay packages, I think they are doing ok."

Asked who would be Yahoo's next CEO following the forced departure of Carol Bartz, Levinsohn joked around a bit and simply said it would be "whoever the board picks." Saying he really doesn't know, he said it would be a great opportunity for someone though.

Asked if Yahoo would be better positioned as a public or private company, Levinsohn said it has
been public for a long time, and the firm "seems to be functioning fine" that way. But an ongoing strategic review by the board will really decide its future, he added.

He also cautioned that Yahoo staffers have to keep their eyes on the ball in the meantime to avoid losing momentum.

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