Yahoo and video platform Maven Networks formally tie the knot

The acquisition of a new and surging startup in the video services field demonstrates that Yahoo intends to pursue its restructuring strategy, just as though February 1 never happened.

Two weeks ago might have been the dawn of Yahoo's next step in moving its multimedia platform strategy forward, had it not been for Microsoft stealing its thunder that week. Today, however, Yahoo went forward with its formal announcement that it is purchasing video and advertising platform producer Maven Networks for $160 million.

One of Maven Networks' crown jewels is what it calls its Dynamic Ad Insertion engine, which it uses for clients such as CBS and Disney that use Maven to serve up their embedded videos. Using a front-end console that looks more like a non-linear video editing system, advertising clients can use Maven's tools to develop semi-transparent ads that overlay the content the viewer is currently watching, plus add graphical gadgets to make these ads into interactive panels.

In a comment to her company's blog this morning, Yahoo's EVP for global partner solutions Hilary Schneider wrote, "Adding Maven to our arsenal of capabilities is an important milestone as we focus on providing advertisers and publishers the best possible tools for reaching their audiences - on our network and beyond. For advertisers, it means more inventory, more choice, more audience reach. For publishers, it means being able to better monetize their content and reach more eyeballs. For consumers, it means consistently free access to high-quality video content and ads that are less disruptive, more relevant. It's win-win all around."

Yahoo's moving ahead with the deal is another clear indication it's proceeding as though the Microsoft takeover bid never happened, especially because Maven would be another of those properties that Microsoft has expressed minimal interest in since it placed its bid on February 1.

On his own blog this morning, Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc made clear his understanding is that Yahoo is investing in his company in order to fully use both its resources and its people, and not see them cast aside on account of a bigger deal.

"Yahoo will be investing in the growth of Maven's overall video business, its technology platform, infrastructure and, above all, its people," Ozguc wrote. "The combination of Yahoo and Maven Networks paves the way for the creation of even more advanced video content monetization and distribution capabilities for media companies and advertisers worldwide."

In a strange way, Ozguc appeared to be saying his company's acquisition is helping spawn a market for his own competitors to join and thrive. One of those competitors, we learned yesterday, is AOL's Platform-A, whose interactive tools are being released as what AOL describes as an open platform. Quite possibly, Platform-A's applications tools will be compared with Yahoo's tools acquired from Maven, by prospective clients who will be comparing not just the functionality of the applications they create with those tools, but also their comparative reach to Web audiences.

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