Yahoo quietly shuttered its Yahoo Screen video hub last week, a little more than four years after it revamped what it said at the time would “house the most comprehensive collection of premium video content on the Web.” It was officially launched in September 2013.
“At Yahoo, we’re constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience,” the company says. “With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place.”
The change, which Variety first reported today, follows a series of setbacks for Yahoo’s aspiration to become a video power. The company took a $42 million writedown on original programs including Community and Sin City Saints, it disclosed in October.
Meanwhile, Wall Street has lost faith in the company’s efforts to build major franchises around news anchor Katie Couric, syndicated reruns of Saturday Night Live, and even sports with the recent first webcast of an NFL game.
Company shares declined more than 37% over the last 12 months as investors saw little of value beyond its 15% stake in Chinese e-retailer Alibaba and 35% interest in Yahoo Japan.
CEO Marissa Mayer hoped to appease shareholders by spinning off the Alibaba shares in a new company. But she had to change plans last month after the IRS refused to guarantee that the transaction would be tax-free. Yahoo shifted gears and said that it will instead spin off its core businesses — a process that could take more than a year as it seeks approvals from shareholders and the SEC.
That’s led to wide speculation that Yahoo might consider an outright sale, either to private equity investors or a major tech-focused company such as Verizon or Comcast looking to expand its web presence.