Yahoo Screen to Offer Online Comedy Series Community

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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to offer a comedy series Community on its streaming video service, Yahoo Screen.

Community — an original online half-hour comedy series — will be available exclusively on Yahoo Screen. The 13-episode show has been consistently ranked as one of the most inventive shows on the television. Created by Dan Harmon, Community will be returning for its sixth season.

Community had an average 3.8 million viewers in its fifth season. The show could help Yahoo! strengthen its web video programming and generate advertising revenues. Reportedly, in April, Yahoo! announced its plans to produce two original comedy series, comprising 10 episodes each. These series will be similar to the ones broadcast on channels like HBO and online streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).

While Yahoo! already offers shows like Saturday Night Live, it remains interested in original content. Though this is an expensive experiment, others like Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony have similar plans too. 

Video content could drive traffic to Yahoo!’s sites, thereby encouraging advertisers to offer more ads. This, in turn, would help ad views and help in monetization. However, even if Yahoo!’s plans materialize, it would be difficult to make them successful.

Yahoo Screen still has a long way to go in order to compete with the likes of Amazon and Netflix, which do more than just stream online video content. However, it would be challenging to beat the popularity of conventional TV programming.

Last week, Yahoo! offered around $250 million to acquire Fullscreen Inc., one of the largest independent content producers for Google’s YouTube. The company has been continuously making efforts to get hold of YouTube’s big star talent and famous networks.

Yahoo! is trying to establish its foothold in the online video content space. With the latest move, the company will not only make a name for itself in web video programming but also help to build its own video platform in the next few months. However, it is yet to be seen Yahoo!’s execution yield the desired results.

Yahoo! currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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