Yahoo Zeroes In on Google's Turf With 'Connected TV' Play


Yahoo is sending a message to major broadcast and cable networks when it comes to the Web/TV convergence: We are your friend.

The struggling, Sunnyvale, Calif.–based Web giant is piling up an impressive list of partners for its two-year-old Connected TV service—including ABC, CBS, Showtime and HSN (all of which have either built or are developing Web TV apps in 2011). Now Yahoo is rolling out a pilot program with three television partners and three big advertisers called "broadcast interactivity," which promises to bring Web-enabled TV to another level.

Over the next six months, CBS, HSN and ABC will begin testing new features aimed at making TV viewing more interactive. Though details are still being worked out, for example, during a Showtime boxing broadcast, Yahoo Connected TV users would theoretically be able to access statistics and information on the participating fighters, and bet on eventual winners with other viewers.

Or in the case of CBS, viewers of crime drama Hawaii Five-O might be able to research the show’s actors or answer questions relevant to the program.

Advertiser-wise, Yahoo has lined up Ford, Mattel and Microsoft to develop enhanced ad campaigns for the pilot program. During a Ford commercial, for instance, viewers might be prompted to look up local car dealers or research custom models via their remote control.

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