Yahoo snags exclusive rights to ‘Saturday Night Live’ back catalog

snlYahoo!, it seems, is just a bunch of wild and crazy guys.

The company has signed an exclusive deal with Broadway Video, the production company founded by “Saturday Night Live” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels, that will give it exclusive access to material from the nearly 40-year-long NBC sketch comedy series. The deal was announced via a blog post by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Wednesday.

“Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, or Tina Fey as Sarah Palin? As a lifelong Saturday Night Live fan, it is nearly impossible for me to pick my favorite skit,” Mayer wrote, elaborating that the deal between the two companies gives Yahoo! users access to all SNL material – even from the ongoing season. “Blues Brothers, the Coneheads, Church Chat, Wayne’s World, Coffee Talk, Pat, the Hanukkah Song – the list of tremendous clips goes on and on. Saturday Night Live has pervaded and defined our culture for decades.”

The arrangement gives Yahoo access to clips from the 1975/76 season through to the current 2012/13 season, including “some” musical performances. That’s not all that’ll be available to the company. As part of the deal, rehearsal clips and behind-the-scenes material from episodes will also be available for Yahoo to share. Jack Sullivan, the CEO of Broadway Video, said that the deal “will ensure that SNL clips from past and future seasons will be even more accessible to fans across all generations.”

The deal isn’t good news for everyone; clarified in an otherwise-undisclosed terms, other sites will be forced to remove SNL library material to ensure that Yahoo’s online exclusivity remains intact. That means both Hulu – which hosts clips from the show’s entire run to date – and Netflix – which has various comedian and decade-centric compilations available – will have to remove their back catalogs of videos relating to the show. Hulu will still be able to offer episodes of the current season; the Yahoo deal only offers exclusivity for Broadway Video’s back catalog.

According to a report on the Hollywood Reporter, the current deal between Yahoo and Broadway only gives Yahoo exclusivity on the archive material for a year, despite that fact that the company is planning to build a digital hub for all things SNL to launch September 1. In Meyer’s original announcement, she shied away from details about how Yahoo planned to use the content, saying only that “the content will be available across Yahoo’s sites,” and that “we’ll announce when it is available for viewing.” If a specialized hub is truly in development, surely we can expect Yahoo to try and expand the exclusivity sooner than later?


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