On the eve of the much anticipated digital Newfronts, during which 18 programmers will attempt to make the case for Web originals, Yahoo has struck a major deal to add tons of not ready for prime time content to its stable.
The Web portal has partnered with Broadway Video Entertainment to snag the rights to nearly 40 years of archival footage from Saturday Night Live. Starting this September all the big clips from the show’s debut in 1975 to this year will be available on Yahoo.
The move can been seen as a Web video content coup for Yahoo, which is continually looking to establish its premium credibility in the space, as well as something of a blow to Hulu. The for-sale joint venture has thrived in part due to a robust array of SNL clips; that said, Hulu will share snippets from SNL’s current season with Yahoo.
The deal also helps CEO Marissa Mayer calm the concerns of the “Mayer doesn’t care about media” crowd, at least for a while. SNL’s rich history of zeitgeist-influencing clips provides the company with some advertiser-friendly, buzzy content to anchor its ongoing push into appointment Web series and hipster comedy. Yahoo has a particular expertise at seeding its video content on its home page and throughout its many content channels, and SNL clips will surely prove vital in that endeavor. (According to multiple news sources, Yahoo has looked into acquiring YouTube pretender Daily Motion.)
Besides clips, the deal includes access to select SNL musical performances, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and dress rehearsal sketches. The deal is exclusive for one year.
“As a fan, I couldn’t be more excited,” wrote Mayer in a blog post. “Blues Brothers, the Coneheads, Church Chat, Wayne’s World, Coffee Talk, Pat, the Hanukkah Song, the list of tremendous clips goes on and on. Saturday Night Live has pervaded and defined our culture for decades.”