By Sahil Patel
Erin McPherson, the top video and programming executive at Yahoo, has left the company to join Maker Studios as its new chief content officer.
Per the official announcement, McPherson will be responsible for Maker’s content and programming strategy and will work with the network’s talent as well as “key external partners.” She will report to Maker’s executive chairman Ynon Kreiz.
“Erin is one of the most respected executives in original online video content and has a track record of developing popular programming across a variety of categories; she understands large-scale online video production,” said Kreiz in a statement. “This is a key position for Maker as we plan to break the mold on traditional programming concepts and produce and distribute a large slate of original video content across our vertical hubs.”
For Maker Studios, signing a well-known online programming exec like McPherson ties in well with the company’s ambitions to be more like a TV programmer. As head of video at Yahoo, McPherson was essentially running an online version of a TV network. During her time at the company, she steered Yahoo through two Digital Content Newfront events; multiple slate launches from comedy to lifestyle, including the company’s biggest show to date, “Burning Love”; and the company’s recent deal with Broadway Video to create a hub for archived “SNL” clips.
Maker says it has more than 100 shows in development as part of its new vertical-oriented programming strategy.
Rumors of McPherson planning to leave her post at Yahoo had been circling her for some months now — as far back as August, in fact, when Yahoo’s discussions with Katie Couric to produce an online talk show came to light. Back then, industry sources speculated privately to VideoInk about what the potential deal with Couric meant for McPherson, as those discussions were spearheaded by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and not McPherson.
These questions came back last week, when All Things D reported that Mayer and Yahoo had talks with Ryan Seacrest about producing original content for the site.
Here is a statement from a Yahoo spokesperson confirming the move: “We can confirm that Erin McPherson is leaving Yahoo. We thank Erin for her many contributions to Yahoo and wish her all the best.”
The news was first reported by All Things D.