April 26, 2005 12:25 PM PDT

Yahoo hires another top media exec

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Yahoo heads for Hollywood

January 25, 2005
Yahoo has plucked away a top America Online executive for its evolving entertainment arm.

The Internet media company said Tuesday that it has hired Shawn Hardin, a former senior vice president of AOL broadband, to help run content operations at the Yahoo Media Group, the company's recently formed media unit in Santa Monica, Calif.

Hardin, 43, will oversee several media sites as vice president of content operations, reporting to the group's chief, former ABC TV executive Lloyd Braun. Hardin has previously worked in television and the Internet, holding executive positions at NBC and Snap.com.

"Shawn's long-standing relationships and creative background are well-suited to helping Yahoo be a valuable, innovative partner to media companies as we work to develop the next generation of online content," Braun said in a statement.

Yahoo is quickly assembling an entertainment and media power team with sway in Hollywood, sometimes to the detriment of Web rivals. In recent weeks, the company wooed former MSN executive Scott Moore away from Microsoft. Moore, who was former general manager of MSNBC.com and head of MSN's video initiatives, was brought on as vice president of content operations for Yahoo's media group.

In the last six months, Yahoo also has hired Neil Budde, a newspaper veteran who was the founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal's online edition. TV veteran Braun, who helped develop TV shows such as "The Sopranos," joined the company in November.

Despite its hiring spree and new Santa Monica, headquarters, Yahoo has been vague about plans for the group. The company is clearly pursuing several avenues of entertainment distribution, including an upcoming music store and partnerships with the likes of JibJab, ABC and others. But questions remain about the company's plans to create entertainment of its own.

Yahoo chief Terry Semel, a former Hollywood studio executive himself, said on a recent earnings call that content partnerships and entertainment distribution are a promising growth area for advertising and visitor usage.

 

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