February 28th, 2007

Yahoo!XTRA launches tomorrow, nothing new for customers

Yahoo!XTRATelecom NZ’s XTRA and content and service partner Yahoo! is launching their new portal tomorrow under the somewhat awkward name Yahoo!XTRA.

According to the teaser site, “good things happen when Xtra meets Yahoo!” and customers will get the best of Yahoo! in the form of:

  • Mail
  • Messenger
  • Search

As is true with the current XtraMSN portal, the new Yahoo!XTRA portal will also provide local content in the form of:

  • News
  • Sport
  • Entertainment

In other words, nothing new for customers. All of the Yahoo! services, bar Music, can be used by New Zealanders today, and local news, sport and entertainment is of course already offered by XtraMSN (and many other content providers).

It is obvious that the partnership is not about new direct revenue streams from Xtra customers. At least not initially, as almost all of Yahoo!’s services are free and already available in NZ. This is all about online advertising. Yahoo! gets direct access to kiwi eyeballs, and eyeballs equals revenue. Xtra in return, will undoubtedly get a share of this advertising revenue stream.


The question is: is the Yahoo!XTRA partnership only about advertising? Well, as long as Yahoo!XTRA sticks to the standard “free” Yahoo! services, we think yes, it is pretty much only about advertising. However, this may change going forward. For example:

  • Yahoo!XTRA may decide to offer services and content that is exclusive to Xtra customers. However, this goes against the way that Yahoo! operates, and we think this is less likely to happen. Yahoo! is unlikely to want to make any of its content or services exclusive to a single provider.
  • Yahoo!XTRA may decide to offer paid services, like Yahoo! Music. (Of course, Yahoo! Music will have to compete against the iTunes monster, and to struggle with the fact that the music cannot be loaded onto iPods.)
  • Yahoo!XTRA may make it cheaper or more attractive for XTRA customers to use its services by discounting paid services.

Of course, Xtra will argue that the partnership is about much more than advertising and that it is about providing leading edge content and services to New Zealanders. However, if these services are simply the existing Yahoo! services, they are already available to New Zealanders today.

We will follow the launch tomorrow with interest.

February 28th, 2007
Sections: Services, New Zealand
Tags: Apple, iPod, iTunes, Telecom NZ, XTRA, Yahoo!