Yahoo!’s New Focus: Premium Video Content

Yahoo! has been through a number of transformations over the last few years. The Internet portal has launched high-profile news blogs, original video series and everything in between. With a new CEO in charge, the company has an idea of what it wants to do next, and video is at the core of it.

Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo!’s executive VP, spoke at the NATPE conference in Miami, where he revealed some details about the company’s plans.

“For 17 years Yahoo! has sort of been known as a catch-all for everything, and I do think you really need to pick your fights,” Levinsohn said. “The notion of scarcity [in creating video] doesn’t exist anymore, but what there is scarcity of is premium video. I like watching the cat chasing the laser pointer like everyone else, but it is impossible to monetize.”

Yahoo!’s strategy so far is to partner with people and brands with household name recognition, and to let them go wild with the shows they create. For example, Yahoo! recently inked a deal with ABC News, and Levinsohn said that deal has been “going gangbusters” for Yahoo!

Another deal was with actor Tom Hanks to produce a new web series called “Electric City.”

“We are going to do many many more of those,” Levinsohn said.

He also hinted that Yahoo! may try to add an additional revenue stream beyond just advertising, though what form it may take is uncertain.

“You have to come up with that second revenue stream,” he said. “It could be transactional, it could be  a subscription, or a one day pass for series of shows.”