Yahoo! was in online video, then they were out, then they were in and then out...and now, starting in about a month's time, they're all in again? It would seem so. Aside from being named in the Hulu bidding of late, they are also apparently shopping around a whole set of original online video content (says Variety). So it seems that the zig-zaggy path of Yahoo! and online video is once again on a positive vector.
Wow, I just totally had some deja vu, like I had already written this article. Well I probably wrote something similar what with Yahoo's historical flip-flopping take on online video.
Anyway, this time round, they've rounded up some star power in the likes of Morgan Spurlock, Niecy Nash and Judy Greer. Honestly, I only know of Spurlock.
Yahoo! is putting some twists into their initiative this time as well. They have stated that they are aiming at women, will market the 'first run' times slots of the shows (much like TV does) and will not be generating branded content as much as it will be ad-powered or have some small integration with specific sponsors.
The October lineup of shows is designed to hit upon the sites most popular topics, including things like relationships, cooking and staying fit. They are aiming to tie together their network of information websites and partner sites to this new content and in turn push consumers toward other video content on those same sites. So it's like a synergistic endeavor to trap viewers inside the Yahoo! network and generate page views as well as help them discover further information and content of interest to them. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think it's wrong...I think it's brilliant! Tangle web visitors up in your own sticky web, drive more page views, video views, display ad impressions and time on site? Yeah, I absolutely can see where they are going with that and it's a model that many of us should probably be adopting.
The new Yahoo! video stuff will also be social and feature a recommendation engine (I wonder who is powering that, surely not Bing?) Even more interesting is where they will push these new shows to. Remember, Yahoo! is behind Internet TV widgets so they probably have a big audience that they can reach via that platform, in addition to their network of other sites and of course news. Plus they've got a generally massive audience and that is exactly who they are looking at with these shows.
We'll be able to see how it all shapes up in the near future. It seems that the marketing blitz is kicking off and they are trying to draw massive attention to the spectacle of it all, it must be working, after all, I'm writing about it (grin). But are they too late? No, I think they're right on time. People are looking for online, alternative sources of video entertainment and, while a lot of their shows don't appeal to me, they do have a specific demographic it seems. That demographic? People who read Yahoo, and women, or women who read Yahoo, or something along those lines.
Just look at the show lineup:
- "Ultimate Proposal": A team of experts will help men of all shapes and sizes deliver memorable marriage proposals. Hosted by "All My Children" star Cameron Mathison (produced by FishBowl Worldwide Media)
- "Your Friends Will Never Believe You": A new celebrity will surprise one of their fans in a unique manner that will literally never be believed.
- "OMG! Now": A fast-paced program gives you everything you need to know about Hollywood in three minutes flat.
- "Blue Ribbon Hunter": The chef host prepares one special recipe each week, then travels to a food festival with the goal of winning the top prize.
- Another food title that is still in production.
Actually, I watch a lot of food shows but I think it's a Gordon Ramsay thing and not a food thing. No, it's probably a food thing, I do really dig food. But I pretty much only watch Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef religiously and then check in on other things like Man vs. Food, Diners, Dives and Drive-ins...or whatever that show is called. See, I can't even know if I got the show's name right.
Now, I do believe that there is going to be some major growth in longer form content, that 15+ minute zone. I don't really know how long these shows are that they're making but I can't see how entertaining they would be at 5 minutes so I have to assume they will be longer. I'll try to get further details on Yahoo's plans and their content.
So do you think they are bucking current online video trends or falling in step with them in regards to this? I look forward to your thoughts.