Yahoo kicked off NewFront week in NYC today by stepping up its effort to blur, if not erase, the line befween online and TV programming. It unveiled 18 series, including a Simon Cowell-produced DJ talent show, a daily news show hosted by Katie Couric, a live weekly business news show, and magazine-related series including one featuring model Naomi Campbell and another with actress Michelle Rodriguez.
“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,” Sales SVP Lisa Utzschneider says, The goal is to help advertisers “eet business objectives – whether they want to buy a show, buy a channel or buy an audience segment.”
CEO Marissa Mayer talked up the company’s reach to mobile devices as well as opportunities for “collaboration and brand integration” with advertisers. Yahoo unveiled a partnership with Millward Brown Digital to provide buyers with data about viewing and, as the company puts it, “optimize brand lift metrics for all their campaigns across Yahoo and the brands extensive network.”
The company has three baskets for its videos: Yahoo Originals, Yahoo Live, and Yahoo Digital Magazines. Originals will include a new comedy series, The Pursuit, which Yahoo describes as a “21st century take on Friends in the era of social media.”
Yahoo Live will serve up Ultimate DJ from Cowell’s Syco Entertainment. Like with American Idol, “viewers are going to decide who’s going to be the best [DJ] in the world,” he told advertisers in a Lincoln Center gathering. He’s been kicking the idea around for at least a year, at one point as a potential TV show in partnership with Robert Sillerman’s SFX. “Electronic music has literally taken over the world,” he says in describing the show as a “musical World Cup.”
Other Yahoo Live shows will include a continuation of the service’s concert series with Live Nation, and iHeartRadio. It also will serve up Yahoo News Live with Couric and Everybody’s Business featuring Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer.
Meanwhle, Yahoo’s 13 Digital Magazines are “evolving to become full digital video channels,” the company says. It will add 14 video series for a total of 47. Campbell will have I Am Naomi and Rodriguez has Riding Shotgun. Other series include Thug Kitchen, YourTech, #OneSmallThing, NewsBites, Viewfinder, Made It With, Made Good, MLB Condensed Games and Offensive Interference.