This week we hear from Yahoo Lifestyle’s Editor in Chief for Southeast Asia Reta Lee. We talked about her career in media and her work at Yahoo Lifestyle, including spinning up new content pillars and identifying new trends. She also discusses the opportunity for eCommerce in Asia, collaborating with teams in the US and UK, and what opportunities she’s got her eye on over the next few years.

In the news roundup we ask what motivates the constant argy bargy between tech platforms, countries and publishers. We examine why Forbes wants to launch a contributor network for newsletters, and ask if Rolling Stone’s pay-to-play model is the death of culture. Good luck Esther!

The full transcript is live here, or see below for highlights.

Spinning up new pillars at Yahoo

At Yahoo, our 360° approach includes human curated content based on trusted news partners, and we have our own original reporting, as well as immersive content to provide a holistic approach for our readers.

So based on that, with live data and statistics, we were able to pinpoint topics that interest our readers. This covers luxury news, as well as parenting and shopping. So we work with our internal product team to create these new pillars so that our readers can access stories and information.

We started the shopping channel in 2019, because we wanted to kind of observe the market’s affinity and understanding of affiliate marketing. But it’s only in 2020 that we decided to push it further.

eCommerce opportunities in Asia

I feel that shoppers in Asia are very savvy. We are seeing a lot of companies rolling out e-wallets with rewards programmes to entice shoppers. And in 2020, according to Statista, the eCommerce market in Southeast Asia amounted to approximately $62 billion. So it’s amazing.

And from that, I feel that the shoppers, they are bargain hunters and looking for rewards, and this behaviour shift to online, it’s what prompted them to look for deals or look for bargains, they’re doing research. I would say this trend will probably continue outwards.

So what happens is that we have a small team of shopping editors, and we have kind of like an editorial calendar where we find out what tentpole events are happening. And we work with some of our partners to create content around their campaigns. So with that, we try to generate or give a little bit of our own curation of say, a mix of evergreen content as well as our providers or even our partner’s campaign on top of that.

A response to Covid-19

So on Yahoo, we saw a massive uptick in content viewers and an increase in COVID-19 related searches. So our global editorial network notably in the US, UK and Singapore, we came together to provide 24 hours up to date coverage on the Coronavirus.

Verizon Media is actually home to brands like Yahoo, TechCrunch and AOL. So about 900 million people across the globe, they love and trust our our brands. From that we responded quite early on, we released a series of ‘Stay well together’ content on Yahoo Singapore, and Yahoo TV, which focused on content dedicated to wellbeing, ranging from mental health to fitness and parenting.

So globally, Verizon Media launched Yahoo Life, which is dedicated to providing wellbeing education, news, and resources for mental physical and emotional wellbeing. We also donated $10 million in advertising inventory to support mental and public health response efforts to COVID-19 so that’s pretty amazing.

Future trends to watch out for

For Verizon, as a whole, 5G is going to dramatically transform digital journalism, and we are already seeing this happening. So there are some examples like the Verizon Media editors, they’ve created – together with the product team – they’ve created this, you know, daily Coronavirus mobile map that provided an AR view of the outbreak. So we could see like active cases by the country and even down to the states in the US.

So with user interests evolving, we are committed to producing more content in immersive formats.

Key stories:

News in brief:

  • Forbes is launching a newsletter platform that would allow journalists to have their own paid newsletters and split revenue. The publisher is looking to hire 20-30 writers with big followings to get the platform up and running.
  • Facebook has referred its decision to indefinitely suspend Trump to its new Oversight Board. It’s been widely praised as the right thing to do – after all, these sorts of decisions are what the Board is there for – but should the Board overturn the suspension, there’ll be a lot of questions about whether it was the right move at the time.
  • Silicon Valley investment firm Andreessen Horowitz is launching a new opinion-driven tech media publication that would publish articles from outside contributors. 
  • DMGT has been hit by an overall revenue decline of 15% as print advertising has slumped 38%, largely due to a collapse in readership for the free Metro newspaper. An 8% uptick in digital advertising wasn’t enough to compensate for losses elsewhere.
  • Taboola has rolled out Taboola Stories, a format that publishers can add to their websites to give readers access to Story-style article recommendations and content.
  • Rolling Stone is to start running a pay-to-play system, offering “thought leaders” the chance to write for its website if they are willing to pay $2,000 to “shape the future of culture”.

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