Yahoo video strategy takes big hit as it shuts down Screen

Steven Loeb · January 4, 2016 · Short URL:

Yahoo Screen had been the company's video hub, showing both its original and curated content

Marissa Mayer's tenure as the head of Yahoo has taken another blow, as one of her big goals for the company, to make it into a video hub, has now all but failed.

Yahoo Screen, the company's video-streaming app, which allows users to flip through Yahoo's video content, both original and curated, has been shut down. The news was reported by Variety on Monday, and is confirmed by the fact that when you attempt to go to what was the Yahoo Screen website it now just redirects back to the Yahoo homepage. 

Yahoo Screen was launched in 2013 as a big part of the company's larger video strategy. Not only did the app include clips from Comedy Central shows, as well as 38 years of archived Saturday Night Live footage, but it was the home for Yahoo's original programming, including the sixth season of Community, the show it rescued after it was canceled by NBC.

Unfortunately, Yahoo's foray into original programming actually turned out to be a disaster, as it was forced to take a $42 million write-off on those shows. Though the company was quick to say it was not completely writing off the idea of doing original programming again in the future.

The company found out the hard way that going up against the likes of Hulu, Yahoo and Netflix is not only extremely difficult, but very expensive.

As for what happens to Yahoo's existing video going forward, as it does still have a ton of content that users should be able to stream, that will transitioned to its Digital Magazine properties "so users can discover complementary content in one place," a spokesperson for Yahoo told VatorNews. 

So, for example, new reports from Katie Couric will be transferred to Yahoo News, while some of its other shows, including Sin City Saints and Other Space, will be moved to the company's TV section.

There's one area especially that Yahoo will most likely keep investing in: live streamed sports. In October the company hosted the first free live stream of an NFL game, which saw 33.6 million streams of the game and over 15.2 million unique viewers. A third of those streams came in internationally, across 185 countries around the world.

While some were not so convinced that these numbers were so great, with the number of unique viewers coming in lower than the league average, and also the fact that that counts anyone who visited the Yahoo homepage while the game was on, it's still an area of big potential growth.

Yahoo's failure to become a video hub is another sign that Marissa Mayer's strategy for the company simply has not panned out. Perhaps that won't really matter soon, though, as the company announced last month it was going to attempt to sell all of its assets and liabilities, other than its stake in Alibaba, in what it called a "reverse spinoff." That would obviously include its video properties.

Investors sent Yahoo's stock down nearly 6 percent on Monday, dropping to $31.29 a share. 

VatorNews reached out to Yahoo for more information regarding its future plans for video. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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