Yahoo Feb. 10 revealed it is crafting Livestand, a personalized, digital newsstand for tablet computers such as Apple's iPad and smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and those based on Google's Android operating system.
Livestand pushes fresh content from Yahoo's own Sports, News, Finance, Flickr, omg!, and the Yahoo Contributor Network properties, as well as content from third-party publishers and advertisers, to Yahoo users based on their interests.
Yahoo is preparing the service to help generate meaningful display-ad revenues and keep users coming to its various and sundry properties. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz may discuss Livestand at Mobile World Congress later this month.
Yahoo will use several signals to personalize content, which will be piped to users also based on their location and the time of day. Users will be able to access content using touch gestures on tablets.
The content will be paired with similarly personalized ads, geared to "evoke the emotion of TV advertising with a highly visual magazine-like experience," said Blake Irving, executive vice president and chief product officer for Yahoo.
Publishers will be also able to charge for subscriptions, Irving added.
Why does the market need Livestand now? Irving said while the use of tablets and smartphones is accelerating, digital media is lagging.
"Consumers can't find the publications they buy off the newsstand, and publishers and advertisers can't reach the audiences they want to serve," Irving said in a corporate blog post. "As the premier digital media company, we're in a position to meet all of these needs."
The notion that current digital content venues on tablets are failing to reach audiences is part of what spurred successful purveyors such as The Daily--the new News Corp. publication exclusive to the iPad--and Flipboard, a dedicated news reader.
Moreover, reports surfaced in January that Google was courting publishers and advertisers to build out its own digital newsstand, leveraging its cloud-based infrastructure.
Yahoo's Livestand is scheduled to launch to users of the iPad and Android tablets (such as the Motorola Xoom), in the first half of 2011. Implementations for smartphones and PC Web browsers will follow.