Yahoo launches streaming app to continue video strategy

Steven Loeb · September 9, 2013 · Short URL:

Company also announced deal with Viacom to stream Comedy Central shows

For Yahoo, video has become one of the key focus areas for the company's future that has included signing deals for exclusive video rights, and acquiring video startups. CEO Marissa Mayer even made it explicitly clear earlier this summer that video was Yahoo's next big project going forward. 

The other important aspect for Yahoo going forward, of course, is mobile. So, today, Yahoo has combined those two aspects of the business into its newest product by releasing a new video-streaming app built for iOS, called Yahoo Screen, it was announced on Monday. 

The app turns smartphones and tablet computers into something akin to a TV remote control. Users can flip through programs and sort through around 20 different channels, which separated into categories such as celebrities, sports, games and food, simply with their fingers. 

"Heading home, turning the TV on and channel-surfing is something that a lot of us do every day. This daily experience is what we wanted to recreate with our new Yahoo Screen app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch," Robby Stein, Director of Product Management at Yahoo, wrote in the blog post. 

Users can browse multiple ways: by trending clips, or by show, or they can jump right in and start watching. Swiping left and right skips between episodes and swiping up and down flips through channels.

The app was developed by Yahoo's mobile team in NYC, and specifically the team at Stampled, which was co-founded by Stein.  Stamped, a startup that allowed users to record and share recommendations, was purchased by Yahoo as Mayer's first acquistion as CEO in October of last year. 

Yahoo Screen is already available for download on iOS.

Yahoo video content

On top of that news, Yahoo also announced that it has struck a deal with Viacom to deliver clips from Comedy Central shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. 

The company definitely has a thing for comedy, announcing earlier this year that it struck a deal with Broadway Video to exclusively stream 38 years of archived Saturday Night Live footage.  Plus, Yahoo also announced its Fall 2013 Comedy Lineup, which includes Ghost Ghirls, which stars Jack Black and Losing It With John Stamos.

"We want Yahoo Screen to be a place where you can customize your experience to your liking while continually discovering new things to watch and share. We hope to make Yahoo Screen the destination for the world’s best video creators and their awesome content," said Stein.

Yahoo's video strategy

Yahoo has shown great interest in the video space this year. 

This is Yahoo's second entry into mobile video in 2013: in July it purchased rich media service Qwiki, an iOS app that turns pictures and videos from a user’s camera roll into movies to share. Unlike many of Yahoo's acquisitions, Qwiki was able to remain as a standalone entity inside Yahoo.

In July, following the release of Yahoo's second quarter numbers, Mayer said that search, mobile, display, and video were going to be the four main focuses for the company.

“Expect to see us making investments in video over the next year,” she said that the time, also explaining that, while Yahoo is looking to nail down great content, right now, the company is focused on building a great platform.

Acquiring content will be on the agenda, Mayer also said, but Yahoo will also be focusing heavily on original content.   

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