Yahoo! exec: Web best for branding

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Yahoo! Inc.'s David Katz spoke to the virtues of creating content and building brands on the Web on Thursday at the Museum of Television & Radio industry forum in Beverly Hills.

Katz, who leads the digital efforts for Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Studios, distinguished for the group of industry executives Yahoo!'s philosophy toward original programming and the powerful nature of the platform itself.

"Would I rather be on the front page of Yahoo! or have some tags or scrolls on TV? I'd take Yahoo! any day," said Katz, in reference to the effectiveness of promotion of content, whether it be television or Web-based.

Before Yahoo!, Katz was senior vp strategic planning and interactive ventures for CBS Television, where he reported to CBS' Leslie Moonves and Nancy Tellem.

Outlining what Yahoo! considers the four pillars of the platform -- content, search, communication and personalization -- he noted the success of Yahoo!'s ventures into original programming, including the portal's morning Internet show "The 9," which ranks the best content on the Web, and Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football.

"It's original programming that will distinguish us," Katz said, adding that the platform is increasingly attracting talent because it allows them to get back to what got them in the creative business to begin with.

"They're not forced into a 22- or 45-minute box, and there's not a lot of studio layers," Katz said. "For creators, it's not always about money -- it's about putting their brand or stamp on something and doing what they think is important, new and different."

Katz said he still considers television the best brand-builder there is, and he described the recent acquisitions of social-networking sites as conscientious, strategic moves by traditional media.

"Fox goes after MySpace because now they have a distribution platform for their shows," he said. "It's weird because they aren't necessarily networks on the Internet -- but what's interesting is if they're going to be referred to as studios."
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