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Yahoo ending video hosting service Maven

Cambridge staff will keep jobs

By D.C. Denison
Globe Staff / July 1, 2009
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Just 16 months ago, in February 2008, Internet giant Yahoo paid $160 million to buy the Cambridge online video firm Maven Networks.

Yesterday, Yahoo said it was “planning to wind down its Maven Networks customer base,’’ according to Yahoo spokeswoman Terrell Karlsten, and told clients it would no longer support the Maven platform. The Cambridge Maven Network office, which had around 70 employees at the time of the purchase, will not be shut down, according to Yahoo, but employees will be deployed to support other Yahoo video products.

Maven Networks specialized in providing online video hosting and advertising services to large media and entertainment companies such as Fox News, Sony BMG, and CBS Sports. According to yesterday’s announcement, Yahoo has decided to get out of that business and focus on “providing enhanced consumer and advertiser video experiences.’’

“This is all about Yahoo paring down its divisions to focus on its core strategic business, which is advertising,’’ said Will Richmond, the editor of VideoNuze, an online publication based in Newton that tracks the broadband video industry.

That Maven Networks is being phased out does not mean bad news is coming for other online video providers, such as Brightcove Inc. in Cambridge, according to Richmond.

“Online video has continued to surge,’’ he said. “More people are watching video online than ever. It’s just that Yahoo has determined, wisely in my view, that it can’t afford to build a business hosting and supporting third-party corporate video sites. It’s the kind of brutal decision that companies have to make in this kind of economic climate.’’

Although companywide layoffs included job losses in the Cambridge office in the spring, Yahoo said there will be “no new layoffs as a result of winding down Maven’s customer base.’’

Karlsten said the Internet service will continue to use Maven Networks technology in its Yahoo video player.

D.C. Denison can be reached at denison@globe.com.