Erin McPherson, who led Yahoo's push into original video content over the past several years, is leaving the company to become chief content officer at Maker Studios, one of the leading content/ad networks in the YouTube space. The news was first reported by AllThingsD.
A former lawyer, McPherson has helped shepherd Yahoo series such as Burning Love, which eventually found its way to the E! Network; and the recent Jack Black-produced Ghost Ghirls. During her tenure, Yahoo also inked major distributions deals for top-flight TV content like Saturday Night Live.
McPherson joins Maker as the company looks to build upon its growing stable of YouTube stars while courting more top brand advertisers. Maker's executive chairman, Ynon Kreiz, has said producing more original, owned-and-operated content is a top priority for the startup, which has raised over $60 million in funding over the last few years.
It will be interesting to see whether McPherson pursues more distribution deals for Maker beyond YouTube, and whether she pushes the company to embrace more scripted fare.
“Erin is one of the most respected executives in original online video content and has a track record of developing popular programming across a variety of categories; she understands large-scale online video production,” said Kreiz in a statement. “This is a key position for Maker as we plan to break the mold on traditional programming concepts and produce and distribute a large slate of original video content across our vertical hubs.”
McPherson's tenure at Yahoo predates that of CEO Marissa Mayer, who has been putting her own stamp on the company's content business. A few months ago, McPherson's boss, media head Mickie Rosen, left the company, and Yahoo is said to be seeking a big TV name for the role. Among the candidates mentioned for the position have been former NBC Universal exec Lauren Zalaznick and even former Yahoo media leader Lloyd Braun.