Streams Soar for Yahoo’s ‘Who Knew?’

Who Knew Yahoo had such a hit on its hands?

The five-days-a-week Web show Who Knew? is now Yahoo’s most successful original series launch. According to internal figures, Who Knew? — which rolled out its 100th episode on Friday — has generated 38 million streams since debuting on April 14.

The series, which consists of 90-second features on topics frequently searched by Yahoo users, now averages over 10 million streams a month. Several popular episodes have exceeded 3 million streams in a single day.

As a result, Who Knew? — produced by Reveille — is off to a faster start than previous Yahoo originals such as the popular TV roundup Prime Time In No Time.

According to Mark Walker, vp of news and information at Yahoo, Who Knew? might mark a turning point in Web video programming, as the show’s content is informed by user behavior, not solely what editors think people want to see.

“This kind of signals that the medium has arrived,” said Walker. “We’re starting to really understand how to do a show that is uniquely tailored for the Web.”

Recent episodes covered such topics as the history of the Emmy Awards, women’s suffrage, and Mount Vesuvius. One of the most popular episodes focused on spies, and was inspired by interest in the recent news that the Russian spy Anna Chapman was found living in the U.S.

Toyota is the exclusive sponsor of Who Knew? Originally the car maker used the show to promote the Toyota Avalon by sponsoring a “comforting fact” that appeared within the show each week. Toyota has since expanded the number of brands it showcases during the show.

Going forward, Walker said that Yahoo plans explore launching similar search-driven series on other channels, such as Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Entertainment. “It’s not hard to imagine how this concept might also be applied to other categories,” said Walker.

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