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Yahoo adds 18 new video series; who are its viewers?

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Yahoo! wants to make sure everyone watches this video

Yahoo is all set to expand its online video service ‘Screen’ with 18 new series of which 14 will be featured in Yahoo’s digital magazines, reports the Times of India. The company will also focus on music by extending its deal with Live Nation to broadcast music festivals and join iHeartMedia to broadcast other music events.

The new content will include shows like ‘I am Naomi’ starring Naomi Campbell, ‘Riding Shotgun with Michelle Rodriguez’, which will feature the actor driving cars, electronic dance music channel ‘Ultimate DJ’ with Simon Cowell and a long-form comedy series called ‘The Pursuit’ aimed at millennials. Some of these will be featured in its digital magazines like Yahoo Politics, Yahoo TV, and Yahoo Autos.

Other than this, Yahoo’s Screen offers users videos in various categories like celeb videos, showbiz, fully funny, going viral, infotainment, healthy living, travel notes, current affairs and food and dining. However it looks like a majority of the videos uploaded to Screen are uploaded by the company itself. The other videos seem to be uploaded in tie-ups with other content providers like Lehren, Zoom, ANI Entertainment, Comedy One etc.

To be honest, its not really clear what Yahoo is trying to achieve with the video content platform. The platform offers no curation, i.e everyone sees the same recommended videos on the homepage, users cannot upload their own videos and the choice of content providers is severely limited. Does it want a video streaming platform? Then why is anyone not allowed to upload videos and create their own channels? Is Yahoo trying to be a VOD provider? Then where is the content?

Even beyond this ambiguity, the platform continues to have problems. Videos occasionally autoplay without a warning. There is no way for users to follow content uploaders, only an option to follow channels. However following a channel requires a Yahoo login, which does not even personalize the content displayed on a user’s home screen post login. Overall the platform has nothing on services like YouTube, Vimeo or DailyMotion, with which it expects to compete.

Yahoo financials: The company reported mobile revenue of $234 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 (Q1 2015), down 7.87% from $254 million in the previous quarter, but up 61.3% year-on-year (YoY) from $145 million. Mobile revenue represented 21% of Yahoo’s traffic driven revenue, up from 14% in the same quarter last year. Overall, the company reported revenues of $1.23 billion for the quarter, up over 8% YoY from $1.13 billion in Q1 2014.

Layoffs: Yahoo India laid off over half of its editorial team based in Bangalore, in February this year. According to the source MediaNama spoke to, Yahoo India’s editorial team size has been reduced from 14 to 6. At one time, Yahoo India had an editorial team of 32, we were told. Last year, Yahoo had laid off around 300 employees from its software engineering department in Bangalore, India, because Mayer wanted to consolidate development operations in the US. The company is also shutting down its office in Beijing, China, which is expected to result in over 300 job cuts. This layoff was expected to begin at the end of last month.

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