Yahoo had better buy Hulu. That way maybe you’ll be able to find its shows.
A few weeks ago, we gave AOL a pretty hard time about how many of its Web video series were seriously hard to find. Instead of housing them in one place, AOL often wove show into editorial channels—a parenting show would pop up alongside articles in the parenting channel, for example. This is not the prescription for loyal, consistent viewing—it’s more like sticking an episode of NCIS in a naval magazine and hope people find it again next issue.
From what we’ve seen and heard, AOL has really organized its originals programming a lot better. Which makes Yahoo’s lack of clarity even more glaring. I went looking for the Yahoo series The Fuzz, which had been unveiled at SXSW in March. It was then I realized that Yahoo Screen, the company’s Web video destination, isn’t even listed on the left nav bar of Yahoo’s homepage. Video isn’t even a default link—at least on my version (I realize that Yahoo delivers 50 bazillion home pages a second or something).
If one were to scroll down the page, eventually you’ll find a module for Yahoo Screen, featuring popular or relevant videos of the moment. None of the shows I saw were Yahoo originals. That’s fine, since there were only four slots—not every Yahoo homepage visitor cares about Burning Love or Yahoo Shine's The Thread.
But once I clicked into Yahoo Screen, I found news clips, highlights from TV shows and movies, and links to video content along the lines of The Truth About Mommy Brain. The site also houses clips from Hulu, most popular ‘viral’ fare, and tons of links to partners like Funny or Die and Everyday Food. And maybe that’s what Screen is. A reflection of what’s popular on the Web, not Yahoo’s Web video networks. But you’d think it Yahoo’s own fare would get some promotional love.
Sure, there were text tabs linking to Yahoo shows Burning Love, Ghost Ghirls and Cinema and Spice, but no videos!
Consider that last March at SXSW, Yahoo hosted an event previewing both The Fuzz, a funny-looking, puppet-staring cop show produced by Vuguru, and they later hosted a party with Jack Black, who is producing Ghost Ghirls (which also looks really funny).
Both shows were due to premiere this spring. Well it’s June 10, and neither has launched; preview clips are available, if you know where to look.
It turns out, per Yahoo PR, both shows have been pushed back to this fall. (UPDATE: Yahoo did indeed mention that both shows will be rolled out in the fall in its NewFront press release last month).
Hey, that sort of thing happens with shows in development. But there goes all that marketing momentum. In a time when buyers are writing open letters to the industry urging Web companies to not let their shows disappear, The Fuzz and Ghost Ghirls absence, and the fact that they are hard to find, is not helping Yahoo’s cause, particularly after a well received NewFront.
“Discovery is a huge problem in this space,” said Digitas vp media Adam Shlachter at a VideoNuze conference last week.
Let’s hope Yahoo discovers some old school marketing and promotion next fall when these shows, and its NewFront slate, finally finds its way online (maybe on Hulu!).