Yahoo CMO Disputes Newspaper’s Katie Couric Calculations

Kathy Savitt says it's about more than just video views.

There are several intriguing tidbits in today’s Wall Street Journal article about Katie Couric that are tied to unnamed sources “familiar with the matter.” These involve Couric’s alleged annual salary as a Yahoo marquee interviewer and the state of her current contract renewal talks.

There are also, from reporters Keach Hagey and Douglas MacMillan, some other informative nuts and bolts about how Couric and Yahoo have been learning to consistently draw viewers to her online programs. Culminating with this:

All told, Ms. Couric has generated about 118 million views at Yahoo since coming on full-time in June, growing each quarter. If each of these were attached to a video ad sold at the market rate for premium online video of between $15 to $25 per one-thousand views, according to media buyers, then those views have generated revenue equal to about half her salary. That doesn’t count additional revenue from major sponsorships and a Snapchat deal.

Kathy Savitt, Yahoo’s chief marketing officer, who also oversees Yahoo’s content, disputes such back-of-the-envelope math. “We believe Katie’s tenure at Yahoo has been accretive to our business, accretive to our users, and accretive to the overall Yahoo brand,” she said.

Couric’s biggest individual show so far was was when she sat down with embattled actor Stephen Collins. One can only imagine the views she might get if she was somehow able to convince Bill Cosby to do an interview with her.