Is Yahoo TV Closing or Widening Chasm Between Online Video & Television?

Yahoo TV Verizon sponsoredWhich online-video site is mostly likely to be part of the bridge between television and the Internet? You can fault the model, and question it’s sustainability. But Yahoo TV is well poised to leverage its partnerships with Verizon and TiVo to start serving its bite-sized video content via television sets equipped with broadband boxes.

Take, for example, Yahoo TV’s “Prime Time in No Time,” a show hosted by Frank Nicotero that recaps the prior evening’s television shows. It’s interesting on at least two levels:

  1. It appeals to TV junkies. I’m not sure there’s a market for general prime-time recaps (since audiences tend to form around tighter niches). But it’s clearly targeted at TV viewers who maybe need some hand holding to start consuming via Yahoo’s mini-TV play. With some prime time promotion, I can see this audience growing.
  2. The ad model is interesting. Verizon gets a brief intro (not a preroll that I noticed), some banner wrap-arounds, and even a logo tucked nicely in the host’s corner frame. It’s dominant without being obtrusive.

Yahoo Menu No Amateur VideoSo we’re still in the infancy of the “TV and online video” collision, which is clearly going to take much more time than we hoped. I’m far less interested in television administered in once-a-day pills (instead of intravanious drips). I find the more fascinating side to be the amateur creators gaining broader exposure than they currently get (assuming they’re good enough, and have consistent content that appeal to steady audiences even if relatively small).

While YouTube is still better poised for the latter, Yahoo comes at the web more like AOL: looking more like TV on the computer than web video as most consume it now. So we see less and more polished content, but fairly superficial interaction between the content and its audience. It’s still “one to many” unlike the magic of online video “many to many” play.

It’s Amazon not eBay.

As an example, one of my few popular videos on Yahoo has 90K views but just 90 comments. While one in a thousand comment on Yahoo Video, most of my YouTube videos get 1-2 percent of viewers commenting. My Mac Air spoof got 27K views with 13 comments, while the same Mac Air spoof on YouTube got 374K views and 1564 comments.

Typically the initial online successes are “pure plays” and not an offline entity moving in. This is true with almost any industry: gaming, retail, travel and media. But it will take a few failures along the way. YahooTV is bringing TV and online video ever so slightly closer together — even if it ends up being a log over the river.

Note that Yahoo Video (the quasi amateur section) still exists, but it’s not part of the primary menu on Yahoo. In fact, I almost gave up in my search for it, so it’s not likely drawing in many Yahoo users (Alexa won’t let me isolate from, so I don’t know how it’s fairing). The featured videos seem to get paltry views relative to YouTube features, and even the Yahoo Video Awards blog post has just 35 comments 4 days after announced (by contrast, most top 100 YouTubers get that kind of views and interactions within an hour of posting).

P.S. Updated 3/27: Check out what InsideOnlineVideo has to say about Yahoo.

13 Replies to “Is Yahoo TV Closing or Widening Chasm Between Online Video & Television?”

  1. Actually, I think Yahoo is in the process of switching video formats from YahooVideo to Jump Cut. is actually run by Yahoo, and I can see it slipping into the Yahoo mainstream soon. It is in beta testing right now, and their online editing tools are way better than Youtube’s failed attempt at doing remixes.

  2. I wouldn’t rule out google (see blog) yet, but I think it will be interesting to see what MS/MSNBC does if it grabs yahoo –

    The war will be between Google and MS/GE/NBC

    I also predict Google will, eventually, gobble up ABC

  3. OK, not that this blog is the place to air my personal grievances but . . . . I have a personal grievance I want to air.

    Here’s what I got back from youtube today in response to my pathetic request to join the partners program:

    “The current level of viewership of your account has not met our threshold for acceptance.”

    Douchebags. I hope they all get run over by cancer. OK I stole that line from whatthebuck but still, that’s the best I can do in my time of grief.

    If only I had some opiates to dull the pain of their rejection. Really. I’m serious. Anyone got any?

  4. As of this morning, sukatra, I have had over a million views of my 786 videos on Youtube. You have 47 videos on Youtube. You don’t need opiates. You need caffeine.

  5. How much support does a wealthy über class lap of luxury mansion-dwelling person need from a sick old disabled veteran living in the iron grip of poverty to take care of his senile demented mother in a one horse redneck town need, sukatra? Compared to my circumstances, you are Marie Antoinette complaining about the flavor of the frosting on your cake while the hardworking peasants outside her window hungrily swill down whatever gruel they can get their hands on .

    Oops. Sorry. I’m confusing you with LisaNova.

  6. MDJ-

    You’re right, you must be confusing me with someone else, since I haven’t worked in two years, no longer own my own home and have a special needs kid that I’m raising by myself. Why do you think I spend so much time on this blog?? Because I need the distraction not to pull out my hair and run screaming out of the house like a banshee. Wait, I’ve already done that. The banshee thing, not the hair pulling. Britney made that so passe.

    And for future reference, I only like chocolate frosting. CHOCOLATE ONLY, do you hear me???! Do not fuck that up again, you peasant you!!!

    I’ve got to go or I’ll be late for my own beheading.

    P.S. Love and kisses to you!!!

  7. Well I had to clear entrenched drug addict felons, bums and butt-ugly ignorant redneck psychos out of my mom’s house and fistfight a PTSD-crazed Marine Iraq vet half my age while I was trying to recover from COPD aggrivated immune system problems to live in my deathtrap fire hazard piney woods shack with intermittent plumbing and no hot water (or electricity in my room) to take care of my firestarting special needs, 23-times-electroshocked Xanax-addicted mom and my teeth are too rotten to eat ANY flavored cake so I declare myself the unchallenged winner of this pity party.

    P.S. Good luck to you and yours.

  8. MDJ

    I have no arms or legs and my head is attached to my neck with bolts. I’m typing this right now with my teeth.

    Yeah, I know, you don’t have teeth, so you still win, you mean old bastard.

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