Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Brags of Boosts in News, Advertising Services

CEO Marissa Mayer says digital magazines are key to strategy.

Yahoo chief executive officer Marissa Mayer speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on Oct.17, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
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Yahoo chief executive officer Marissa Mayer unveiled new blogs and advertising services during a keynote presentation Tuesday at the Consumer Electronic Show, betting that her company can improve the online news experience by combining algorithms with editorial curation.

Mayer has worked to boost Yahoo's video, news and advertising content since becoming CEO in July 2012, a strategy which she highlighted during her address , when she launched news blogs Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech.

"Digital magazines are a core part of our long term vision," Mayer said. Mayer said she wanted the company's online news to be relevant and engaging enough to cure the "too long, didn't read" stigma of Web articles.

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Yahoo acquired more than a dozen tech companies and startups since Mayer became CEO, including the purchase of photo sharing website Tumblr in May 2013 and news story summarizing mobile application Summly in March 2013. Summly founder Nick D'Aloisio presented the Yahoo News Digest application to the audience Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nev., which will present collections of news posts in the morning and the evening using the Summly summarizing features to combine the best parts of several stories from different news groups. The result is a collection of top stories tailored for a user's interests that include concise text posts with maps, photos, tweets and other visuals.

"The stories are algorithmically produced but editorially curated," D'Aloisio said.

The editorial staff assembled by Yahoo in recent months include former New York Times columnist David Pogue, who will edit Yahoo Tech as a blog that he said will "speak human" for the everyday reader, and ABC News anchor Katie Couric, who will also anchor Yahoo News. Several members of the new Yahoo family joined Mayer on stage following her speech and offered their own take on the company's future.

"At times accuracy has been a casualty of immediacy," Couric said, emphasizing the need to blend investigative journalism with Internet search engine strategy. "Linking has too often replaced reporting."

Mayer's plans to improve user experience while boosting the company's revenue included announcements to decrease reliance on display ads and offer new services for native advertising and targeted ads. Native advertising is content designed for a website by an advertiser that fits with a certain user experience for that site, including a mock news article that self-identifies as an ad.

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A new suite of advertising products including Yahoo Ad Manager and Yahoo Ad Exchange allowing firms to buy ads on Yahoo's channels, including the Web, video, mobile and Tumblr.

"This is our investment to simplify what is today highly complex and fragmented market," said Scott Burke, Yahoo's senior vice president of advertising.

During Yahoo's third quarter earnings report in October the company reported 800 million monthly users, up 20 percent since Mayer became CEO. However the company's revenue dropped slightly to $1.081 billion in net revenue in the three month period ending Sept. 30, excluding fees paid to third-party websites, compared with $1.089 billion during the same period in 2012.

In the U.S. display ad market, Yahoo claimed an estimated $1.27 billion, or 7.2 percent, of total display ad revenues in 2013, according to eMarketer market research firm. Facebook increased its share in that category to 17.9 percent of all U.S. display ad revenues in 2013, up from 14.8 percent in 2012. Google is in second place, with a 16.9 percent share for 2013, up from 15.3 percent in 2012.

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