Yahoo aims for TV ad dollars with Marissa Mayer announcing slate of new shows

Marissa Mayer

Mayer speaking at last night’s Yahoo Newfronts event

Yahoo has announced a major expansion of its video streaming offering with the digital publisher confirming it will commission 18 new online series, with many of the shows to be focused on a Gen Y audience.

Last night Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wheeled out celebrities including the music empresario Simon Cowell, supermodel Naomi Campbell, actress Michelle Rodriguez and journalist Katie Couric, as the online publisher sought to win over US media buyers with a new digital video line up aimed squarely at taking revenue from the traditional US television networks.

The company will be making new investments across its traditional video division, live music division and its digital magazines, and while its 50 per cent owned Australian subsidiary Yahoo7 has recently enhanced its digital magazines offering it is unclear if any of the new video series will be available in Australia. 

YahooAddressing hundreds of US media buyers at the Lincoln Centre in New York last night Mayer said: “This lineup is really appealing we think to the millennials.

“And of course that is what a lot of the media buyers are looking for.

“These are all items that are really focused on that (Gen Y) demographic, and we know that’s a really attractive demographic to advertisers that can do a really solid job of making us that ‘must-buy’.”

Among the key Yahoo commissions is a new show ‘The Pursuit’ a new scripted original long-form series from Scott Stuber and Beth McCarthy Miller which they are hoping will become the 2015 equivalent of 90s sitcom Friends.

Across its suite of digital magazines there will also be new shows including: I Am Naomi hosted by supermodel Campbell, car show Riding Shotgun with Fast and the Furious star Michelle Rodriguez and a new show Ultimate DJ, created by music producer Simon Cowell.

Comment is being sought from Yahoo7 about whether any of these show will be available in Australia, where it has partnered Seven Network owner Seven West Media for its joint venture.

“We know that advertisers want to tap into premium video content that connects them with engaged audiences across devices, and they also want to buy video ads programmatically,” said Lisa Utzschneider, senior vice president of sales for Yahoo.

“With our new slate of digital video programming and a wide variety of video ad formats and buying options, we’re helping advertisers meet business objectives – whether they want to buy a show, buy a channel or buy an audience segment.”

Yahoo also touted how it has one billion user profiles in its database globally and pushed last year’s purchase of video ad network BrightRoll to enhance its programmatic offering, alongside the acquisition of mobile app analytics company Flurry.

Nic Christensen in New York


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