Yahoo Picks Up NBC's 'Community' to Beef Up Video Service

Portal Takes a Page From Netflix's Playbook

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'Community.' Credit: NBC

Yahoo wants TV-level programming so badly that it's picking up TV's leftovers.

Yahoo has picked up NBC's canceled comedy "Community" for its streaming video service Yahoo Screen. The series, which had a devoted but small-for-TV fan base, will premiere its sixth season this fall on the portal's site.

With the move, Yahoo has taken a page from Netflix's book. That streaming video service resurrected "Arrested Development" as a way to bolster its exclusive content library and lure new subscribers that were already won over by the series' earlier run on Fox. Netflix is also bringing AMC's "The Killing" back for a short final season. Similarly, "Community" may have been attractive to Yahoo for its built-in audience that could help to direct eyes to Yahoo's own original series, particularly its two forthcoming TV-length original shows.

"Yahoo is all about connecting the best creators to the audiences who love their work," said Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt, who oversees the company's media business, in a company statement. "Community' has an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base who have fought hard to keep this amazing show alive."

Unlike "Arrested Development" on ad-free Netflix, "Community" could help Yahoo draw TV advertisers who may have bought ads against the series while on NBC, or those that wouldn't typically consider web programming. Yahoo has previously had a hard time securing sponsors for its original programming. Last year Yahoo secured a sponsor for only one of its six shows presented at NewFronts, and sold ads against others packaged as genre bundles.

The portal has also refrained from selling every video ad it might have on some occasions; the company's head of the Americas, Ned Brody, told Ad Age earlier this year that Yahoo has intentionally controlled its video ad load to concentrate on building audiences first. For example, video interviews from Yahoo's global news anchor Katie Couric have often run without any ads, despite the level of attention her hiring received last year.

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