Taking a page out of Netflix’s Arrested Development playbook, Yahoo announced today that the Web company will be producing a sixth season of the half-hour comedy Community starring Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie and Jim Rash. Detailed within a press release on the Yahoo Newswire, showrunner Dan Harmon will be creating 13 episodes for the Web to be exclusively aired on Yahoo. This investment in content is related to Yahoo’s interest in creating a YouTube competitor that’s timed to launch this year.
Excited about Yahoo saving Community from extinction, Harmon said “I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo. I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition.” Of course, the shift to the online space should open up more freedom for the show’s writers, a significant change from the limitations of producing a show for a broadcast network. It was also perfect timing that Yahoo picked up the show today as contracts for all the actors were set to expire at the end of June.
In addition to the new season of Community, Yahoo is also producing a couple new shows set to start during 2015. The first is a futuristic comedy called Other Space that’s about a group of space travelers and the second is a show called Sin City Saints that details the travails of running a a new professional basketball expansion team out of Las Vegas.
Of course, it’s not entirely clear how Yahoo plans to monetize original video content. Advertising during each episode is a likely possibility, but the Web company could potentially adopt a pay-per-play model on an episode basis or for an entire season of content. Assuming Yahoo works to make more content available, the company could eventually turn to a subscription model similar to Netflix or Hulu Plus. However, that eventuality will likely require a heavy investment in content to fill out Yahoo’s video library.