Yahoo, Telemundo to Shutter Yahoo Telemundo

Yahoo and Telemundo have agreed to shut down the two-year old co-branded site Yahoo Telemundo by the end of 2008, as each company will essentially launch their own Spanish-language portal next year.

On Jan. 1 Telemundo will roll out the stand alone property, which will feature a mix of programming information, original content, and outlets for user commentary/participation. The NBC Universal-owned company had tapped Yahoo rival Microsoft to promote the new site via prominent placement on its MSN Latino portal—though unlike the previous deal, the new site will not be co-branded. Microsoft will also provide video and ad serving technology for the site.

Meanwhile, also starting next year Yahoo will rebrand it U.S. Hispanic and Latin America-aimed portal as Yahoo en Español. The new version of site will be designed to emulate the overall Yahoo model – aggregating content from multiple partners across various categories, while also serving as a platform for basic Web services like email and instant messaging.

According to officials, while the original partnership—forged in May of 2006—had served both companies, but each was now looking to establish a singular Web presence. In fact, this past August Telemundo unified its various digital efforts under one group led by Peter Blacker, the company’s newly installed executive vp, digital media and emerging businesses.

“After three successful years building Telemundo’s digital identity with Yahoo and evangelizing digital media, we are ready for the next step,” said Blacker in a statement (Telemundo executives were unavailable for comment).

“We decided along with Telemundo that the proper evolution our businesses would be to split the properties,” explained Manuel Mazzanti, marketing director, Yahoo Hispanic Americas. “They want to create their own entity online and they are following NBC corporate strategy.”

However, it’s possible that NBCU officials didn’t like the idea that has gradually added more content partnerships with non NBCU companies, such as MTV and Reuters. Mazzanti said that the aggregation strategy was likely to expand with Yahoo en Español. “From the Yahoo side, we are following our strategy of being completely open,” he said. “The market has changed a lot. Everybody’s doing business with everybody.”