Yahoo! is joining the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com, Google, Hulu and even Microsoft. Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo announced Monday (April 28), during an event at the Lincoln Center in New York, that they would be taking the plunge, and began producing television-style original video, and introducing web-goers and their users to Yahoo’s two new comedy shows.
Enlisting writer-producer Paul Feig, the mind behind NBC’s Freaks & Geeks, they put together eight episodes, each 30 minutes long for one of their two new shows, Other Space. This comedy is based in outer space where a group of space explorers work on getting back home, while trying to avoid danger in the aggressive parallel universe they stumbled upon.
With the help of TV director Bryan Gordon (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Mike Tollin, who worked as executive producer for WB’s hit series Smallville and One Tree Hill, will also be bringing in eight 30-minute shows. Sin City Saints is a basketball comedy that tracks the activities of a pro basketball expansion team based in Las Vegas, which was purchased by an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley.
Pushing for the shows to be available sometime next year, Yahoo will exclusively stream them through their Yahoo Screen service, their mobile app, and on regular television across Apple TV and Roku. They will also stream their vast library—spanning all the way back to 1975—of “Saturday Night Live,” for which they received exclusive rights, in the hopes of building a dominant comedic roster online. With such a power move, Yahoo! is hoping to introduce their users to the foundations of comedic genius, while exploring its new era with Yahoo at the helm.
Stating that they have noticed an impressive increase in streams to the new Yahoo Screen since launching the line-up seven months ago. Kathy Savitt, chief marketing officer says they will continue to expand their library with great works like, Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central, in the hopes that when Yahoo’s original series is introduced to users and the public the company will get an impressive response.
Even with a solid plan to expand into this new market, Yahoo will still have to compete with a class of tough competitors already established in the market. Tough competition like Amazon, who signed a recent agreement with HBO allowing them to stream HBO shows to Amazon’s U.S. customers through Amazon Prime.
Although in the past Yahoo! had disappointing results within the video market, they hope this time will be different, hoping that the move will entice a new wave of viewers and advertisers to join their team. Yahoo! needs to remember that although the talent they have under their belt is impressive, they are entering a market where they will have to continuously prove their worth to a fickle market.
They will also be partnering with the promoters LiveNation, under which Yahoo! will stream one concert per day for the next several years on their new music channel. This should launch around July, with sponsorships from Kelloggs and other companies. At the moment Yahoo! has more than 1,000 hours of comedy, and once they add their two newest series to their arsenal they are hoping users will jump to use their new service.
Yahoo! plans to spend millions in an industry where veterans have spent tens of millions before seeing any reward is a risky move. Hopefully for Yahoo! the gamble will pay off and they will join the club of Internet television when the introduce users to the new age of comedy.
By Virginia Snowden