Why Silicon Valley Can't Sell

Drive up and down the 101 Freeway in Silicon Valley, or cast your gaze north toward Seattle, and media companies, which expect to book over $20 billion in advertising in 2011, appear to be everywhere. But visit the biggest of these companies and ask them to define themselves, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get them to say they’re the new generation of media, attracting audiences for the purpose of selling advertising. “We’re a core technology company,” says Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, whose team netted $10 billion in U.S. ad sales for the search giant last year. “I don’t know [if we’re a media company], and to be honest, I’m not that interested in the answer,” says a slightly annoyed David Fischer, Facebook’s vice president of advertising, who sold $1.8 billion. “Microsoft is first a technology company,” says Keith Lorizio, the head of sales for the software giant’s Advertising unit. The exceptions? Yahoo and, on the East Coast, AOL—both once seen as tech leaders, but now laggards, trying to remake themselves as media companies. “I embrace it,” Ross Levinsohn, who joined Yahoo last November to run its Americas operations, says about the media label. “The media business is the most exciting business in the world.” But you won’t find any tech platform worth a few billion or more that admires Yahoo, AOL, or, for that matter, anybody else in the media business. Advertisers and other publishers have pointed out for years now that assembling audiences, and... Continue reading at 'AdWeek'

[ AdWeek | 2011-07-11 00:00:00 UTC ]
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