The brand formerly known as Oath was born out of ambition. A merger of Verizon’s Yahoo and AOL purchases, Oath was intended to harness the power of the group’s diverse media, tech and communications assets. No small task considering it was operating under one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, with the race for 5G well under way.
But with major business and tech moves on the horizon, including a recently expanded partnership with Microsoft, Oath announced at the end of 2018 that it would rebrand as Verizon Media beginning January 2019. That comes as part of a larger organisational reboot. The company has realigned itself into three business units—Verizon Consumer, Verizon Business and Verizon Media—marking a shift in focus from a telecommunications company to an expanded technology company.
That has left many to wonder what’s next for the new Verizon Media brand and its subsidiaries, specifically its commitment to consumers, brand marketers and publishers in Southeast Asia, where the group had made a sizable footprint.
“There’s a larger context here,” explains Rico Chan, managing director of Verizon Media in Hong Kong, Japan and INSEA. “As part of one Verizon—a Fortune 20 company—we will be able to grow our work on tomorrow’s technologies, such as XR, AI, machine-learning and 5G.”
Chan believes that singular vision will help the group focus on what’s next in media, advertising, and technology. But it does not mean Verizon will suddenly shake up its foundation in Singapore or elsewhere.
“Yahoo News, Finance and Yahoo TV will continue to deliver the news, stories and experiences our users love,” he says, adding, “we’re looking at ways to engage consumers in a way that is relevant to their lives. To provide the content that brings them back every day, like their favourite shows or live-streamed events on Yahoo TV.”
In fact, Yahoo TV will remain a pivotal part of Verizon Media’s efforts in Singapore and the region. The channel has exceeded expectations, attracting over 1.3 million monthly users. And Chan expects to incorporate even more original programming to already popular shows like Can You Hear What Auntie is Cooking and Singlish With Uncle Gwee. Yahoo TV has already made a foray into the eSports with a dedicated channel that aims to connect fragmented eSports communities across Southeast Asia and to bridge the industry to a wider audience.
In addition to the studio in Singapore, Yahoo TV also has studios in Taiwan and Hong Kong that develop popular original shows like Endgadget Smart Living Hub and the Mickey Life Show.
These initiatives will also help serve marketers and publishers, which remain a focal point for Verizon Media. That should come as a relief for those who loved the custom publishing power of Oath Ad Platforms.
“Our new offerings will reflect what our users want more of,” he says. “With this, we’ll be able to reimagine how we serve advertisers in the region and give them innovative, impactful storytelling experiences and solutions.”
Those will come through a mix of mobile, video and innovation, powered by cutting-edge technologies. Everything will be “wrapped in a seamless experience,” according to Chan. “For advertisers, we want to enable path-breaking storytelling, matching this with ‘story-hearing’ capabilities.”
Whether it’s through native advertising or content marketing, Verizon Media is looking to disrupt how advertisers leverage technology to create engaging stories on a massive scale in the coming year. The group has set out to build new features into its unified ad platforms while making it easier for marketers and publishers to use different ad tech, data, inventory and ad experiences.
On top of these streamlined offerings, the partnership with Microsoft will enhance the effectiveness of native advertising for marketers. Marketers will gain additional access to 20 percent more native inventory through Oath Ad Platforms.
“Marketers can select exclusive placements they can’t buy anywhere else,” Chan notes.
They’d also have unrivalled access to high-performing ad formats on Microsoft News (formerly MSN).
“That’s native ads on every page of Microsoft News in more than 30 countries around the world.”
The year may have started off with ambitious change for the newly minted Verizon Media, but it appears that change will pay off in a big way across the board in Singapore.