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Yahoo CEO Outlines New Ad Sales Focus

Yahoo Logo - H 2011

Under the leadership of interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo will refocus on bolstering its $5 billion online ad business.

The plan is to strengthen ad sales on Yahoo's media websites by focusing on big events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars, reports the Wall Street Journal. Among the moves cited by the paper is committing towards more content and seeking smaller acquisitions. Yahoo is also said to be reevaluating the continued operations of some of its failing websites and de-emphasizing its prior emphasis on e-commerce revenue to attack online advertising, which is growing annually at a 20% rate industrywide.

Levinson, who took the reins of the web giant upon the departure of Scott Thompson in May, has reportedly told colleagues he expects to be judged on success in winning support from the Madison Avenue-based advertising industry. The interim chief executive has experience on the content front after having been a leader at Fox Interactive Media as well as other digital media companies.

Yahoo's 11-member board of directors is currently searching for a permanent CEO, and Levinsohn is under consideration to hold onto his new role.

The company's owned properties included Yahoo! News Network, Yahoo! Sports, and omg!. In recent months, Yahoo has also forged content-sharing partnerships with the likes of ABC News and CNBC. The company has made a big push to grab a portion of the some $2 billion-per-year online video ad space and has been touting plans to offer extensive coverage of the coming Olympics. Yahoo most recently reported 700 million global users.

Levinsohn's renewed ad focus for the company follows a move in April by Thompson to reorganize the structure of the company into three groups (consumer, regions, and technology) and lean more heavily on commerce endeavors. That month, Yahoo laid off 2,000 employees. But Thompson soon resigned after a swirling controversy about whether he had misstated academic credentials on his resume, opening the door for Levinsohn, who according to the Journal, was likely a few weeks from leaving the company before he was given an opportunity to lead Yahoo.