Yahoo taps Hollywood veteran

The Web portal's CEO pulls in another confidante from his film studio days as Yahoo hires former Warner Bros. exec Jim Moloshok to oversee its highest-profile Web properties.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
3 min read
Yahoo said Thursday that it has named former Warner Bros. executive Jim Moloshok to oversee the Web portal's media and content properties.

Moloshok will become senior vice president of media, information and finance, a position that will head Yahoo's highest-profile Web properties, including news, finance, sports, music, movies, TV and games, to name a few.

"I want to help be the translator between the worlds of online and offline, to explain in their language how (the) online world can benefit the offline marketer," Moloshok said in an interview.

Moloshok will be based in Yahoo's Santa Monica, Calif., offices and will report to Gregory Coleman, executive vice president of North American operations.

The appointment marks the latest traditional media executive brought in since Terry Semel, former Warner Bros. co-chief, joined Yahoo as CEO. Moloshok worked for years under Semel and most recently headed AOL Time Warner's now-defunct Entertaindom Web site.

The position is not new, but it encompasses more oversight than the previous role of senior vice president of media, vacated by David Graves in December.

Moloshok said he plans to continue serving as a liaison between Yahoo and traditional media and entertainment industries. He plans to use these relationships to create new businesses that incorporate name-brand content into Yahoo's popular Web sites.

"Subscriptions are going to be very strongly related," Moloshok said. "Our goal is to increase the percentage of revenue from non-advertising sources. When we get into the entertainment environment, it's one of the core areas where you can bring a subscription model."

Since Semel joined Yahoo nearly a year ago, he has brought other Hollywood confidantes into his inner circle, including Jeff Weiner, formerly at Warner Bros., and Toby Coppel, previously a banker at media power-broker firm Allen & Co. Weiner and Coppel oversee the strategic direction of Yahoo and other elements of corporate development such as deals and partnerships.

As Yahoo's revenue and stock price plummeted over the last two years, the company's board brought in new management to help reverse the setbacks.

Under Semel, Yahoo has focused on growing non-advertising revenue by creating paid services and tapping transactional revenue. The company recently acquired job-listing service HotJobs.com, while adding charges to its other listings businesses such as personals and classifieds.

Last week, the company reported quarterly earnings that met Wall Street's expectations, but it left some investors concerned about its revenue for the period. Worries stemmed from the discovery that revenue growth over the same period last year would have been flat excluding the HotJobs acquisition.

For the first quarter of 2002, Yahoo posted a net loss of $53.6 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $192.7 million. Wall Street had expected company revenue to reach $175 million, according to research firm First Call.

Yahoo's relationship with content providers will likely prove more significant in the coming months as it tries to climb out of its hole.

Historically, some content producers have chaffed at Yahoo's terms, which required them to pay the Web portal for distribution. In February, ABCNews.com pulled out of its Yahoo deal after the companies could not agree on renewal terms. ABCNews.com wanted cash in exchange for providing streaming video clips for Yahoo's users, along similar lines to its agreement with RealNetworks' RealOne subscription service.

Yahoo has begun exploring options for creating a subscription-based streaming-video service. It has begun polling consumers to gauge interest in a test project dubbed "Platinum Entertainment for Yahoo," which will charge viewers a monthly fee for specific programs.

Moloshok would not offer details about Platinum Entertainment for Yahoo, adding that the division is always considering subscriptions as a revenue option.

Since the fall, Moloshok has been working for Yahoo as a consultant, but he has not accepted a formal position until now. He was tapped by Semel to strike marketing and promotion deals with major movie studios and media companies.