Yahoo to join Amazon, Netflix, and everybody else with original TV programming


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Yahoo has already shown that 2014 is all about content, but now the Internet company wants to follow the path laid out by Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Similar to those titans of online original productions, Yahoo wants to have its own original TV programming.

Unlike other online content providers that create a mix of comedy and drama series, Yahoo will focus on 10-episode half-hour comedies, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo is said to be already looking at ordering four different web series.

Yahoo’s TV plans are far from finalized, but the Journal says the company wants to have something to announce on April 28. That’s when the company will hold an event during Digital Content NewFronts week, an annual ad sales pitch to clients.

Yahoo is no stranger to online content creation. But producing 30-minute comedy shows that could cost $700,000 or more per episode would be a major commitment for the company. 

So far, Yahoo has restricted its ambitions for original dramatic content to 5-10 minute “webisodes” such as Tiny Commando starring Ed Helms and We Need Help with Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris.

Beyond those shows, which Yahoo announced last April, the company has also invested in the Saturday Night Live archive.

Yahoo is also amping up its news efforts recently debuting Yahoo News with Katie Couric, featuring the former CBS News anchor. A new Yahoo Tech site headed by former New York Times technology critic David Pogue went live in January.

Yahoo isn’t the only tech company jumping into the TV fray. Microsoft is developing an original series based on its popular Halo gaming franchise, and on Monday Bloomberg reported that Microsoft will debut as many as six new shows on Xbox Live starting this June.

Microsoft rival Sony is also getting into TV, recently announcing an original series for the PlayStation Network based on the comic book Powers.

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