There has been no shortage of 2005 recaps and 2006 predictions and recommendations for tech and media companies. However Business 2.0's "Futureboy" Erick Schonfeld penned one yesterday that caught my attention. It's a series of resolutions for Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Disney. Mobile devices and applications take center stage in his recommendations, as does video—a theme we are seeing everywhere, including CES, where the curtain is being pulled back on many such products as I type.
Interestingly, Schonfeld's recommendations for Yahoo! mirror our own thoughts on the company's trajectory, and the comments of Bradley Horowitz, Yahoo!'s director of media and desktop search, when I spoke to him in the fall.
Yahoo (Research) helped make 2005 the Year of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) by incorporating it into MyYahoo, Yahoo News and even Yahoo Mail. Yahoo also championed the Media RSS format for video, which helps video producers upload content into Yahoo's video search engine. With those pieces in place, Yahoo should now take the next step and turn My Yahoo into a hub for Internet TV. Just like an RSS reader pulls together blogs and news feeds, My Yahoo could be a single place to find, subscribe to and watch video (or listen to audio podcasts) from anywhere on the Web, whether it's the most-viewed clips on YouTube, Saturday Night Live skits or Yahoo's own Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone.
Or as Horowitz put it to me:
You might have different categories on the page, so at the top of the page you might have 'What's Hot' kind of things that we're bringing to you because they are general popular interest and most people want to watch them. You might also have 'My Subscription,' so you might subscribe to various shows like 'Six Feet Under' and you want to see when a new episode is available for viewing.
Sounds an awful lot like RSS and My Yahoo!, which Horowitz agreed with. This brings the personalization strategy that Yahoo! is pushing across its network to yet another place. Such a video hub for users will also create valuable ad inventory that can be tied to Yahoo!'s already existing local ad network, and targeted acutely based on content pulled in and location.
Schonfeld agrees that a user-friendly video hub—akin to My Yahoo!—is what we need to ignite "the Internet TV era." Yahoo! could be just the company to do it. But we'll hold off on that prediction until tomorrow, when we see what type of video product Google's Larry Page unveils during his CES keynote.