Yahoo Preparing Bold Entry into Original TV Programming Business (Report)

Marissa Mayer Google Yahoo - P 2012
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Marissa Mayer Google Yahoo - P 2012

Following fellow web giants Netflix and Amazon, the company plans to acquire a slate of high-end, cable-quality shows, as part of its strategy to boost its reputation with advertisers.

Yahoo is set to follow fellow Internet giants Netflix and Amazon into the crowded original TV programming business, with plans to acquire a slate of high-end, cable-quality shows, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. 

The company is close to ordering four web series, each of which will be a 10-episode half-hour comedy, with per-episode budgets ranging from $700,000 to several million dollars. All of the projects under consideration would be written and directed by TV-industry veterans, sources briefed on the plans told the Journal.

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"They're looking at the same type of shows that Netflix and Amazon are eyeing," said one source.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her chief marketing officer, Kathy Savitt, have reportedly reviewed more than 100 projects over the past few months, targeting shows that are ready to launch and require little development.

The Journal says Mayer is looking to show off the new programming to potential advertisers at this year's "NewFront" event on April 28 – its version of a TV upfront presentation. But Yahoo reportedly hasn't yet finalized any deals, which could make that deadline difficult to reach.

The move into original TV is part of a strategy to boost Yahoo's reputation among advertisers by demonstrating that its video offerings are richer and higher quality than the options offered by competitors, especially Google's YouTube.

"They want to blow it out big-time," said one of the Journal's sources.

Yahoo declined to comment.