Sunnyvale, California -- Struggling internet pioneer Yahoo Inc. took the lid off a new slew of video programming during its Digital Content NewFront presentation in New York on Wednesday, unveiling a new web series starring veteran TV anchor Katie Couric, as well as luminaries like Tom Hanks, Anthony Zuiker, and other growing number of television and Hollywood personalities jumping into the online video world.
The unveiling of a new show featuring Couric--headlined the event, which was devised to be a content showcase for advertisers and press similar to a network television upfront.
The new Katie Couric web series, called “Katie's Take,” launches on May 1, will be a weekly program as she explores topics and issues surrounding health, nutrition, parenting and wellness.
The latest series is being rolled out in association with ABC News, for which Couric currently serves as a special correspondent, where she hosts a new afternoon talk show syndicated by Walt Disney Co.'s ABC coming this fall, is appearing on Yahoo as part of an agreement between the web company and ABC.
The magazine program will be Couric's 'personal, fun and unique perspective' on the show, Couric will be doing a lot of what she did first as the co-host of ABC's “Today” morning show and then as a newscaster on the CBS “Evening News,” talking about news and social trends, with a particular focus on topics and issues crucial to everyday life--like health, nutrition and parenting--associated with interviews with relevant experts. Poland Spring Natural Spring Water is the exclusive launch sponsor of this series, which will get its own dedicated page.
Couric's new show was one of a number of new video programs to be detailed by Yahoo Wednesday afternoon in a presentation for advertisers. On the other hand, advertisers think men were left out, Yahoo also presented a slew of six programs including an as-yet unnamed talk show under development with Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park movies, Independence Day, Law and Order: Criminal Intent), who will soon be heard in the animated avian comedy Zambezia.
Among other original contents include from the creators of Rock of Ages, Matthew Weaver and Chris D'Arienzo, comes Dancing with Myself, a musical “jukebox” comedy featuring classic '80s pop songs. Yahoo also announced Stunt Nation, hosted by Sal Masekela, a fun-with-demolition program KaBOOM, and the daily show The MANual, “the ultimate guide to rising above masculine mediocrity.”
More so, “The media and advertising industries are at a turning point, and no one is more poised to take advantage of the shift toward digital content than Yahoo. Globally, we are a digital media powerhouse, providing high-quality, engaging & personalized content on every screen,” said Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo executive vice president and head of Global Media. “We are partnering with industry leaders and top Hollywood talent, creating unique, premium experiences for distinct audiences around the world. By doing so, we create a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to connect with highly engaged and targeted audiences. We provide the content experiences that consumers want and the context that advertisers desire.”
Some of the other novel Yahoo video initiatives announced Wednesday were “Electric City,” an animated Sci-Fi series produced by actor/filmmaker Tom Hanks. The new programs will be added to Yahoo's existing video portfolio, which includes 15 original video production partners, 40+ original series, and more than 300 original episodes per month.
“Yahoo is setting the standard for original online entertainment,” added Mickie Rosen, the senior VP of Yahoo Media Network. “We are bringing celebrated storytellers and sophisticated production capabilities to provide our audience with the types of engrossing experiences they are seeking more of on the Web.”
“Yahoo has emerged as the top choice for marketers,” commented Wayne Powers, the senior VP of advertising sales for North America. “We understand better than anyone how to seamlessly blend their messages to target audiences within the context of our unique and compelling content experiences.”
Equally, Couric's show is the outcome of an existing partnership between ABC News and Yahoo News, which also is responsible for Yahoo's suite of programs that cover the 2012 election from different angles. One is Remake America, a weekly docu-series that follows the socioeconomic lives of six families, and another is Power Players, a daily political series produced in conjunction with ABC News, featuring George Stephanopoulos, Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, John Berman, Amy Walter, Rick Klein, and Yahoo's Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian.
Moreover, Yahoo's advertiser presentation followed a similar event staged by AOL Inc. Tuesday night, another by Hulu LLC last week and precedes one planned by Google Inc.'s YouTube next week.
Lastly, each has been bolstering up its investment in new programming in hopes of attracting more viewers. And by presenting the events for advertisers, as TV networks have done for years, online video outlets are hoping to attract more advertising dollars.