• R.I.P. Maven Networks

    Well, it looks as though it's official: as reported by TechCrunch and others, Yahoo is discontinuing Maven Networks's third party video publishing activities though Yahoo's statement says it will use Maven technology for internal video efforts. As I've mentioned periodically, I was an early consultant to Maven, which was a pioneer in the video platform space.

    Way back then (!) in 2003 most people in the media business still had a difficult time imagining why broadband video was so strategic and game-changing. Maven's team did a lot of the early spadework in evangelizing broadband's potential and building market momentum. Its reward was being acquired for $160M by Yahoo in February, 2008 in what I believe is still the largest pure play broadband deal.

    However, the Yahoo acquisition was never a perfect strategic fit, even before factoring in the well-documented chaotic mess that Yahoo has become in recent years. The problem was that Yahoo is a media company, deriving the majority of its revenue from advertising. On the other hand, Maven was a technology/products company (though some in the industry always questioned the true proprietary value of Maven's technology). The most strategic deal for Maven would have been with a larger technology/products company, where it would have become part of broader suite of video products and services. Yahoo was never really well-suited to support Maven's third party video customers (and in reality it hasn't for a while now), and with all its other troubles, this move was widely expected.

    For Maven's founders and investors, the company's acquisition marked a successful exit that others in the industry envy, particularly in this crummy M&A market. Still, the Yahoo-Maven deal is yet another example that when selling a company, price isn't the sole criteria for longer-term success.