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Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which just announced buying online video tech provider Maven Networks, has quietly relaunched its consumer video service. The service, which has been retooled a few times and hasn’t been a big competition to the likes of YouTube and others, still has the traffic funnel of Yahoo, so has to be taken into contention. The service has a bigger player, better resolution, a better upload tool, and has some new tools for organizing content. This relaunch does not yet incorporate anything from Maven’s acquisition, but one would expect it to be part of the service down the line…which would probably mean an even higher quality video experience.

One missing thing for Yahoo is any kind of premium downloads. Would expect this not to be done in-house, and someone like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) through its Unbox service could be a partner…after all Amazon has been looking to do such powered-by deals of late.

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As reported on paidcontent.org

Here’s the article on Yahoo’s Maven acquisition on paidcontent.org

Life goes on at Yahoo: the company has confirmed its previously rumored acquisition of online video platform Maven Networks, although the price tag of “approximately” $160 million is a bit higher than the previous $150 million estimate. The reports first surfaced on New TeeVee and TechCrunch on Jan. 31, the night before Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) launched its bid for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). It’s not clear if the delay, however, between the initial reports and the official announcement had anything to do with the bigger issues facing the company. Cambridge, MA-based Maven offers a platform for high-res video hosting and distribution, as well as a system for video advertising. Release.

— Maven, which has raised $30 million, has relationships with a number of major content providers, including Fox News, Sony BMG, and “CBS” Sports. Backers include Prism Ventures, Accel Partners and General Catalyst. By comparison, Brightcove, whose CEO Jeremy Allaire was the EIR at General catalyst when the firm invested in Maven, has raised $80 million, since its launch in 2004.

— The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo, will remain in Cambridge but becomes part of Hilary Schneider’s Global Partner Solutions group. Yahoo says it plans to invest in the growth of Maven’s overall video business and to expand Maven’s suite with “video monetization services” and “advanced technologies for delivering consumers more relevant advertising experiences.”

David adds: I spoke with Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc and Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo’s director of video strategy/sales. More after the jump…

Both offered details of the complementary aspects of working together, especially as Yahoo prepares to relaunch its video network on Thursday. Both also said that the discussions between Yahoo and Maven occurred month’s before Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo was floated. Ozguc said he regards the Microsoft talk as a side issue far removed from his and Yahoo’s current plans. As for how a Microsoft takeover might affect Maven down the road, Ozguc would only say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

A playing field of titans: The nascent stage of online video, which was dominated by startups, has passed, Ozguc said. Now it’s a “playing field of titans and we thought the time was right to become one of the biggest players in online advertising. It’s not just Yahoo’s display and search capabilities, but their deep relationships with publishers that made this such a good fit for us.”

The combination: Maven manages the video distribution and ad trafficking for over 30 media companies with hundreds of affiliate sites within them. And Yahoo has licensing deals with roughly 75 percent of the major TV ad spenders. “It’s not that Yahoo didn’t have deals with many of the players that we do, but we’ve five years on creating a video publishing system. That technology is the other half of our value proposition. We’re a pure technology provider. We never got into ad sales or creating portals. It’s a very clean relationship from that perspective.”

Maven brand stays (for now): Ozguc: “We’re still a well-known brand and there’s no reason to do away with it. That’s not to say that Yahoo won’t rebrand it. But the plan right now is to keep the name in place.” And even though the two companies are working on integrating each other’s workforces, Ozguc added that no layoffs are imminent. “That issue has been talked about and decided. Yahoo did not acquire this company to lay people off.”

If you sell anything online, whether physical goods or services, you’re probably keenly aware of the 2-3% (plus $0.30) lost through transactional fees every time someone makes a purchase with their credit card. This fee rears its ugly head whether you use PayPal, Google Checkout, or Amazon Flexible Payment Service since those companies are largely just passing on the fees imposed on them by credit card companies.

Noca, a startup founded by ex-Visa employees, is attempting to virtually eliminate transaction feeds by bypassing the credit card companies altogether with its own online payment service. Since $5 billion goes towards online transaction fees every year in the United States alone, and since online vendors have particularly slim profit margins, the company thinks that the near elimination of transaction feeds would be a huge boon for online vendors. Concurrently, Noca seeks to provide consumers with a more rewarding and more secure purchasing experience, thereby making its service appealing to both actors involved in a transaction.

While Noca aims to eventually facilitate online payments for purchases of all sizes, it begins with a focus on micro-payments, and on micro-payments made through Facebook in particular. It has launched two Facebook applications to test its payments system out: OneClick Pay and HelpYourWorld.

The former provides a simple way to send money to friends. As you can see in the screenshot to the left, the idea is to send someone a digital check; you actually enter your routing and account numbers into the application instead of using a credit card. This poses a significant obstacle to adoption (who remembers these numbers or carries around a check in their pocket?). But the company insists that using checking information rather than credit card information increases security and reduces the chances of identity theft. Plus, Noca is working to provide functionality that would allow you to enter your online banking credentials in lieu of your checking information.

The latter Facebook application, HelpYourWorld, provides a good use case for Noca’s micro-payment system. Since the application solicits $1-at-a-time donations for a series of causes, it benefits greatly from Noca’s lack of transaction fees (especially the standard fixed one of $0.30). Noca hopes that many other Facebook applications with similar micro-payment needs will use its APIs to implement its payment service.

As for the benefits to the consumer, Noca promises to provide strong and flexible incentives through cash back schemes, frequent flier miles, and the ability to designate a part of your payment to a charity of choice. The company also insists that its service will be substantially easier to use than others like PayPal, and that consumers will gain access to a much more comprehensive transaction history than they would get elsewhere.

In the longer term, Noca will become much more like a credit card company itself, providing credit to users through direct partnerships with banks. In doing so, it will be able to provide users with the same benefits of buying things on credit without charging vendors standard transaction fees, which it considers mostly oligopolistic fat. To make money, Noca will also attempt to leverage its user data to target them with tailored advertising and product deals.

from Techcrunch