x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Yahoo keeps faith in Arabic content

Yahoo says it will continue to invest in Arabic content for its websites in the Middle East, despite a global round of layoffs that has hit this region as well.

Ahmed Nassef, the vice president and managing director for Yahoo in the Middle East, said job cuts would not be as dramatic here as in some other regions. Sammy Dallal / The National
Ahmed Nassef, the vice president and managing director for Yahoo in the Middle East, said job cuts would not be as dramatic here as in some other regions. Sammy Dallal / The National

Yahoo will continue to invest in Arabic content for its websites in the Middle East, despite a global round of lay-offs that has also hit this region.

The media company has struggled to attract more advertising revenue for its Web properties in recent years, which led Scott Thompson, Yahoo's new chief executive, to announce the lay-offs of about 2,000 employees globally this month.

That equals about 14 per cent of Yahoo's workforce.

Mr Thompson has also said the company would be either "shutting down or transitioning" about 50 of its Web properties, although Yahoo did not specify which sites in the Middle East might be affected.

"I don't think we'll see a big impact on users in the Middle East," said Ahmed Nassef, the vice president and managing director for Yahoo in the Middle East.

However, Mr Nassef acknowledged that the company's redundancy plan included some of the more than 300 employees working in the Middle East.

Notifications to these workers have already been issued.

"All regions around the world have been affected," Mr Nassef said. "There's going to be an impact here, but I can't talk about that number for us."

He added that the job cuts would not be as dramatic here as in some other regions.

Last week, the company reported its revenue during the first quarter this year rose 1 per cent, to US$1.08 billion (Dh3.96bn), marking its first year-on-year increase since the third quarter of 2008.

Its stock price climbed to its highest level in nearly four months following the announcement.

"We're in the turnaround stage across the different regions worldwide," Mr Nassef said.

The Middle East is among the fastest-growing regions globally in audience numbers and digital advertising revenue, Mr Nassef said.

Advertising revenue for Yahoo's properties in this region increased by more than 30 per cent last year compared with 2010. "If you look at the total advertising market last year, it was flat because of the economic crisis and political and social changes in the region, but within that we grew 30 per cent," Mr Nassef said.

The company says it has spent the past year strengthening its international and regional content within the Middle East, while providing more video.

Its Arabic news site that launched this year, as well as its omg! celebrity gossip portal have been growing among attracting more visitors, Mr Nassef said.

Yahoo also plans to expand its core media properties, including sites that target youths and those interested in finance or sports.

At the same time, more of these sites will be made available in English, Arabic and eventually French.

Yahoo plans for the first time to offer its coverage of the Olympics and the Uefa Euro 2012 football competition in Arabic.

 

nparmar@thenational.ae

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