Yahoo backtracks, becomes more MySpacey

Lloyd Braun has announced that Yahoo will backtrack a bit from its ambitious plans to create lots and lots of television-like web content. Instead, it’s going to rely on, you got it, user-created and -submitted content. From the NYT:

Mr. Braun insisted that Yahoo would not abandon its efforts to have original material, but he said it would embark on only a handful of new ventures this year, not the dozens he had been promising last year.

The company is not canceling its initial forays into programming – “Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone,” a series of war reports, and “Richard Bangs Adventures,” travelogues about unusual locales. But other initiatives, like a revival of “The Runner,” an elaborate reality concept Mr. Braun originally developed for ABC, have been shelved.

“Original content is the salt and pepper on the meal,” he said. “It is certainly not the engine driving this.”

Analysis from inside the fishbowl: seems like Yahoo’s plans were timed unfortunately. After all, the last eight months or so have shown that people are eager to consume video content on the web. But the major video content brands on the planet Earth– in other words, television networks (and also, to a lesser extent, movie studios)– have already aggressively moved into that niche. So any content that Yahoo would create would have to compete with web distribution (legal or otherwise) of already-popular entertainment products: in other words, real television shows.

Tough hurdle to jump.