Yahoo has announced that, starting in March 2011, it will enable software developers to sell applications for Internet-connected TVs using its Yahoo Connected TV platform. Applications will be for sale via a new Yahoo Connected TV Store, which will be accessible from Internet-enabled televisions from a variety of makers, including Sony, LG, Samsung, Toshiba, and Vizio.
Yahoo will be running the Connected TV Store much like other applications stores for Internet-enabled devices, and Yahoo will pocket 30 percent of the money from each sale. Yahoo will support widget pricing from as low as $0.99 all the way up to $99. Widgets will be able to generate revenue for developers through direct sales, paid subscriptions, and by charging for downloads. The paid widget program will initially be available to developers and publishers in the U.S., UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, France, Canada, and Australia, although Yahoo anticipates opening the program to other countries.
Of course, casual games would seem to be a natural fit for Yahoo’s Connected TV platform, but the company says it is already testing a number of paid applications in other areas, including online video tutorials for subjects like algebra and physics, high-end screensavers, enhanced weather information, and home movie sharing.
Yahoo Connected TV launched back in 2009, Widgets currently available for Yahoo Connected TVs are available for free.
Adding paid applications to Yahoo Connected TV may help the company’s interactive TV platform compete with Internet-enabled set-top boxes like Google TV, devices like Roku and Apple TV, home media PCs, and gaming consoles that increasingly offer Internet access from living room TVs. If Yahoo can develop a healthy ecosystem of third party applications, the Yahoo Connected TV platform becomes much more appealing to television makers, who are looking to build Internet services directly into their hardware.