Yahoo owner Oath seeks increased digital advertising prospects in Hong Kong

The subsidiary of US telecoms giant Verizon is bringing more than 50 media and technology brands to broaden its audience and advertisers in the city

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 11:44am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 11:44am

Oath, the subsidiary of Verizon Communications that owns Yahoo and AOL, expects to give a boost to the digital advertising market in Hong Kong as it brings more than 50 media and technology brands to its local online platform.

“With Oath’s house of brands, we can better understand users’ habits and preferences through data analytics, allowing advertisers to reach more of their target audience,” said Rico Chan, the managing director of Oath for Hong Kong, India and Southeast Asia, on Thursday.

He said that will “open up tremendous business opportunities to advertisers”.

Reaching an audience of more than 1 billion worldwide, the Oath portfolio includes Yahoo Finance, HuffPost, AOL, Yahoo Sports, Engadget, TechCrunch, Yahoo Mail, Tumblr and specialist virtual reality content provider RYOT.

The New York-based company was formed in June this year after US mobile network operator Verizon completed its US$4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating business.

That sale did not include Yahoo’s cash assets, its shares in Alibaba Group Holding, its shares in Yahoo Japan, convertible notes held by Yahoo, certain minority investments and Yahoo’s so-called non-core patents.

E-commerce giant Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

“The launch of Oath is great for Hong Kong because it will provide more choice to consumers,” said Kevin Huang, the chief executive at digital advertising agency Pixels. “Whether advertisers will immediately be on board all its offerings remains to be seen.”

On Oath’s prospects, Chan pointed out that the number of advertisers pursuing digital campaigns has been increasing at a steady pace in Hong Kong.

Total digital advertising spending in Hong Kong is forecast to reach US$639 million this year, up 14 per cent from last year, according to data from research firm eMarketer.

It estimated mobile would make up 49.2 per cent, worth US$314.3 million, of that amount this year.

Oath’s Chan said the company is now working to introduce Hong Kong-focused versions of news and opinion site HuffPost, technology industry news site TechCrunch and RYOT.

In July, multilingual technology blog Engadget was the first of the brands in Oath’s portfolio to sharpen its focus for Hong Kong.

Chan, who previously served as the general manager at Yahoo Hong Kong from 2013, said the city’s Yahoo portal remains the most popular site for both desktop and mobile users.

Citing data from media measurement and analytics company comScore, Chan said Yahoo has an average of 4.4 million monthly active users and 2.4 million daily active users in Hong Kong.

In addition, he said the Yahoo Hong Kong portal has a 96 per cent penetration rate among desktop computer users and 88 per cent penetration rate among mobile users.

“When you have that high penetration rate, our goal is to maintain our existing user base,” he said.