Content is king, they say, and lately, Yahoo appears laser-focused on bringing top-notch video content to its website.
The company has announced plans to produce a slew of original online programming featuring big-name stars such as celebrities Ed Helms, Cheryl Hines, Diane Sawyer, the Undertaker, and more. The announcement comes just a few days after Meyer announced Yahoo would get exclusive online access to Saturday Night Live’s 38-year archive, as well as clips from SNL's current season.
Yahoo has three comedy shows scheduled for the fall, including Tiny Commando, starring Ed Helms of The Office fame as a four-inch tall crime fighter. We Need Help stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Rachael Harris (The Hangover) playing versions of themselves who share and take advantage of their personal assistant, Max. Finally, John Stamos is coming to Yahoo with a new celebrity interview show called Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos, where the former Full House star talks to other famous people about their first time. That show is co-produced by documentarian Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame.
In a nod to Netflix’s success with so-called “binge viewing"—where all episodes of an original program are available immediately—all three new comedy shows will offer their complete seasons from day one.
Yahoo is also bringing three new lifestyle shows set to debut later in 2013, including Fashion Recipe featuring stylist Brett Alan Nelson; Cinema & Spice, exploring cooking and film; and a show unofficially titled Grill Girls with Chef Megan Mitchell.
Yahoo is also partnering with ABC and CNBC to present new online news segments, including three companion shows to ABC News programming: World News Beyond the Headlines hosted by Diane Sawyer, as well as Nightline: Online featuring what sounds like daily previews of each weeknight’s program. Yahoo will also get a Good Morning America recap show called GMA Live. Yahoo and GMA are already using the ‘GMA Live’ title for some videos at the GMA-Yahoo portal.
Yahoo is teaming up with CNBC for Talking Numbers, a stock analysis show aimed at personal investors, debuting in May. Yahoo also says it has signed a deal with Conde Nast to feature the publisher’s video content on Yahoo sites.
Yahoo gets RAW
Yahoo is also showing hustle, loyalty, and respect for professional wrestling with an exclusive 30-minute pre-show every Monday before WWE Monday Night Raw airs on television. Yahoo will also get two as-yet-undefined weekly WWE series (good for 50 episodes per year), access to the WWE archives for online distribution, additional live WWE events, and clips from the latest WWE TV shows.
Digital content goes mainstream
Yahoo has been moving into original content programming for some time with notable shows such as Tom Hanks’ sci-fi animated series Electric City, which debuted last July. The company’s announcement also comes as Web-based video becomes more important to the entertainment industry, hot on the heels of the news that Netflix’s U.S. subscriber base has surpassed HBO’s. And, based on reports, online video will finally be included as a part of television viewership ratings.
On Tuesday, Nielsen announced a pilot program to measure viewership of online content from A&E, ABC, AOL, CBS, the CW, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBC and Univision. Nielsen’s first run at online video viewership will be somewhat limited in scope as it reportedly won’t include popular sites such as Hulu, YouTube, or Netflix, according to The Wall Street Journal. AOL, the Journal says, will be the only major independent video site to participate in Nielsen’s new viewer tracking program. In February, Billboard magazine added YouTube views to its Hot 100 music singles chart.
Beyond its new content offerings, Yahoo on Tuesday also announced a new Yahoo app for Android featuring summarized news stories in a redesigned, highly visual format.