The enemy of your enemy is your best pal. Just ask Viacom, which is suing Google's YouTube for $1 billion while hopping into bed with Yahoo.
Viacom and Yahoo announced a "multi-year partnership" where Yahoo will be the exclusive provider of sponsored search and contextual ads on all of Viacom's sites. These properties include MTV.com, VH1.com, Nickelodeon.com, comedycentral.com and BET.com and cover "33 broadband sites." Yahoo added that the deal could expand to 140 more Viacom Web sites worldwide.
Yahoo portrayed the Viacom win as a victory for its project Panama, an ad system designed to close the monetization gap with Google. Expectations are high for Yahoo's Panama and the Viacom deal is likely to push them higher.
And there were plenty of Google digs in Yahoo and Viacom's statement.
In the shameless poke in the eye department:
"Viacom is a global leader in entertainment that shares Yahoo!'s commitment to connecting users to the content, products and services for which they are looking while respecting copyrights and other intellectual property rights at the same time," said Terry Semel, Yahoo CEO.
Hmm, sounds like a Viacom vs. YouTube lawsuit reference to me.
In the take that Google department:
"This far reaching partnership brings together world-class content and technology for the benefit of users and advertisers alike. Yahoo! has made impressive strides with its new search marketing system. As a global leader in content for every screen and platform, we couldn't be more pleased to have them as a partner and we look forward to growing our relationship even more over time," said Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom.
The Viacom announcement appears to be an early volley of what's likely to become a barrage of positive Panama news from Yahoo. By most counts, Yahoo's clickthrough rates since the Panama launch have improved.
What remains to be seen is whether good news from Yahoo can fend off all of the armchair CEOs with 20/20 hindsight.