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Can’t Touch This: Yahoo, Comcast, And Video

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The lightly noticed Yahoo and Comcast announcement about a deal that places Yahoo’s online display and video advertising on Comcast’s web properties could be an Internet video watershed moment.

Can't Touch This: Yahoo, Comcast, And Video
Can’t Touch This: Yahoo, Comcast, And Video

It’s a bigger deal than the humble statement issued by Yahoo let on to readers. Yahoo gets an exclusive multi-year deal to deliver ads on Comcast.net, and Comcast gets the benefit of Yahoo’s branded advertising experience.

It’s almost enough to make YHOO shareholders forget about the $71.66 million pay package CEO Terry Semel will receive from the company, along with his $1 salary.

Mark Cuban called it the deal of the year, heady praise for an online deal in the wake of Google’s $3.2 billion DoubleClick purchase.

"The one thing that Google doesn’t have is a contained network. Comcast does," Cuban wrote. "The implications are significant."

In Cuban’s opinion, it isn’t an Internet deal, but a non-Internet deal, since Comcast delivers its content via cable to its private network of customers. Comcast customers also have set-top boxes, from which the company can pull in plenty of customer data.

"The two companies can work together to leverage customer data (within privacy limits) to deliver ads that are not only personalized, but also can evolve to be "over the top" of the set top box," said Cuban.

High-quality video means high-quality video ads. No weird pixellations a la YouTube or other online video providers. If it plays out as Cuban predicted, he thinks Google and Microsoft will have to follow the path set by Yahoo and Comcast.

To do that, it seems those companies would need private networks where, like Comcast, they can control and monitor the quality of service. Google could partner with Time Warner Cable, or even fulfill the dream of many a tech pundit by launching a fully-owned private network.

How about Google Network over power lines? The company has invested in broadband over power line technology. In that case, one could forget about cable networks. Google would be in the infrastructure of any building that can power a nightlight, should BPL truly develop.

But for now, Yahoo’s deal on Comcast’s private network is one Microsoft and Google can’t touch.

Can’t Touch This: Yahoo, Comcast, And Video
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