Yahoo tried to change that on Monday with a new slate of six new
shows focused on comedy and sex plus partnerships with WWE and
Conde Nast. The message? "Guys, we're still a media company."
Among the new shows: "Tiny Commando," a comedy series with "The
Hangover" star Ed Helms; "We Need Help," a comedy produced by
Rachael Harris and Cheryl Hines (who play themselves); and "Losing
Your Virginity with John Stamos," co-produced by Morgan Spurlock,
which will interview celebrities about the first time they had sex.
Those and others join two returning series from last year to form
something that, if you squint hard, looks a little like a TV
schedule for next fall.
Yahoo also touted its ability to distribute content produced
elsewhere. Case in point: ABC News president Ben Sherwood gave the
Yahoo partnership some credit with helping "Good Morning America"
make life difficult for the Today Show on TV. He said that reaching
non-viewers through Yahoo was the strategy from the outset. "If
just 1% of Yahoo's audience samples 'GMA,' we win," he said.
The NewFront pitch comes on the heels, too, of Yahoo's deal to
license 38 years of "Saturday Night Live" clips.
In an interview during the show, COO Henrique De Castro
reiterated the importance of content to Yahoo's strategy. "We are
the only publisher at scale on the web," he said, arguing that
every other platform that comes close is based on user-generated
content. The story to advertisers is "content at scale on the web,
delivered in a personalized way," as Mr. De Castro put it.
That content won't necessarily look like TV, just as cable did
not precisely resemble broadcast at the outset. Yahoo has become a
major acquirer of originals, he said, but it will also rely heavily
on partners such as ABC News and NBC Sports, and aggregation as
"If you look at the value of media, content without a delivery
mechanism doesn't have any value," he said. "So you have to have
the right content pared with the right delivery mechanism."
That and some new ad formats are Yahoo's content
story, and from the looks of the line that snaked down 44th to get
into Best Buy Theater, there are still some advertisers game to