By Sahil Patel
Yahoo may soon launch an original interview series hosted by Katie Couric with plans to make it available on the company’s homepage (instead of only in the Yahoo Screen section, which houses all of Yahoo’s original and licensed video content). This information comes via a report from Kara Swisher at All Things D, who also describes how Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has shown a bigger interest as of late in the company’s video business.
During Yahoo’s Q2 earnings live-stream, Mayer said video was a “key area” of growth for Yahoo over the coming year, along with the company’s mobile and search businesses. A show hosted by a recognized personality like Couric, and featured on the company’s most valuable piece of real estate, would certainly fall in line with her comments. Couric already has a relationship with Yahoo through the company’s partnership with ABC and ABC News — she hosts a show on Yahoo called “Katie’s Take,” and appeared at Yahoo’s Newfront and Advertising Week event in 2012. So it wouldn’t exactly be exactly crazy to see a show like this come to fruition.
What’s also interesting (and maybe more so if you’re into this sort of intrigue), is Mayer’s increased interest in Yahoo’s video business. Yahoo’s media head Mickie Rosen left the company last month, and according to the report, Mayer is looking for a television executive to replace that position. If so, then what exactly does this mean for Erin McPherson, who currently oversees Yahoo’s video business, from original programming to licensed content? Several industry people have told VideoInk that McPherson might soon exit Yahoo, while others have cautioned that such assumptions are a bit premature.
The other thing in the report, about Mayer interested in creating a competitor to YouTube, makes a lot of sense considering her attempts to buy both Dailymotion and Hulu in the past year. What would be worth watching — if Yahoo does make moves to strengthen its video platform — is if it will continue on its current track of optioning original, TV-like programming and licensing existing TV shows like “SNL.” The thing about YouTube — as many people within the site’s ecosystem are quick to note — is that it’s an entirely different world when compared to what you see (no pun intended) on other major video sites like AOL and Yahoo. It’s unlikely that Yahoo creates a true open platform like YouTube. It’s more likely that you see something closer in nature to Hulu. Then again, any company trying to create a robust online video platform has to count YouTube as a competitor.