‘Google is search, Facebook is social … we’re going to be brands’

Armstrong has added two divisions, dedicated to security and and to gender and racial diversity.

Tim Armstrong, chief executive of Oath, the result of Verizon merging AOL with Yahoo’s internet business, said the company is planning a worldwide expansion, to launch more brands in more countries beyond its current portfolio.

Oath is made up of over 50 media and technology properties, including AOL.com, HuffPost, Yahoo Sports, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS, Tumblr, Build Studios, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Mail, Moviefone, Flickr and Verizon Digital Media Services. It does business in 40 countries “at scale,” he said, and is looking to expand beyond that. “The US is 4% of the population of the world,” he said. “As we like to say internally, we are not a 4% company.”

The idea behind the Oath name was to convey a long-term commitment to the media business, said Armstrong during a press briefing at the Cannes Lions festival. Its focus will be on delivering content and ads across mobile platforms: “From a commitment standpoint, we’ve laid out a road map through 2020 to try to get to 2 billion consumers,” he said, targeting between $10bn and $20bn in annual revenue. Currently, the combined AOL and Yahoo properties reach about 1.3 billion users monthly, and serve 1 trillion monthly ad requests, reports Variety.

Verizon last week closed its $4.5bn acquisition of Yahoo’s internet businesses, at which stage Armstrong and his team began the process of cutting 15% of the combined AOL-Yahoo workforce. According to company representatives, the layoffs have been substantially completed and Oath has about 12,000 employees.

Consolidation of brands is “inevitable”, according to The Drum. It quoted Allie Klein, chief marketing officer for AOL, as saying: “We want to make it easier for people and not harder for people to buy. The volume of brands that we have … will not be helpful, so you can see consolidation from a brand stand point there,” adding that the executive declined to give any further details on which companies would be affected.

Armstrong reiterated that Oath doesn’t intend to directly compete with Google and Facebook: “Our goal is to open up relationships with consumers in a differentiated way,” he said. The company is in the business of “disrupting” brand marketing. According to Business Insider, Armstrong explained: “I like to say, ‘Google is search, Facebook is social and we’re going to be brands.” The pitch to marketers is that Oath’s brands are “trusted places to do marketing,” Armstrong added. “We are probably the single largest, cleanest source of consumer traffic and data.”

With the establishment of Oath, its chief executive also added two new dedicated divisions; one for security and one focusing on gender and racial diversity. “The goal is to have our employee base look like our consumer base,” he said.

Shares of Altaba, the holding company left behind after Yahoo’s sale of its internet business to Verizon begin trading today. Altaba’s main assets include a 15.5% stake in Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba and a 35.5% holding in Yahoo Japan.