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Yahoo to take on likes of Netflix with original online programming, report says

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Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about Yahoo’s supposed plans to break into the video space with something along the lines of YouTube, while last week it emerged the Web company is apparently in early-stage talks to acquire online video service News Distribution Network (NDN).

Now we’re hearing Yahoo’s set on getting into the original video content game, with plans afoot to produce “the kind of programming that typically winds up on high-end cable TV networks or streaming services like Netflix,” the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Journal’s sources said the Sunnyvale, California company is on the verge of acquiring four Web-based comedy series, each comprising 10 half-hour episodes, in a bid to bag itself a hit online show.

Those familiar with the matter added that budgets range from $700,000 to a few million dollars per episode, with experienced writers and directors from the TV industry expected to create the content.

Netflix’s success with original programming such as House of Cards has no doubt gone some way to spurring Yahoo’s possible move into original online content, with the Web firm looking to increase revenue through accompanying ads. Aware that it’d be entering a crowded market, Yahoo is said to be carefully weighing its options as it examines how best to fund the shows and turn a profit. Besides advertising, licensing deals with international markets, as well as various syndication arrangements, are reportedly being considered as possible revenue generators.

It’s thought Yahoo boss Marissa Meyer could present her plans to advertisers at its NewFront event for marketers taking place in New York at the end of this month.

 Video-based plans

Yahoo certainly appears to be moving toward attempting something significant in online video, an area Mayer has shown an interest in since becoming CEO two years ago. At a tech conference in January she described the tech industry as being at “a critical moment embarking on the next-generation of video consumption.”

The company tried to acquire French video site Dailymotion from France Telecom in 2013, though the deal didn’t go through. It also showed an interest in buying Hulu for around $800 million, though as with Dailymotion, it came to nothing.

At the end of last month it emerged Yahoo is considering signing up popular YouTube figures for the launch of a similar video-sharing service, which may be rolled out in the next couple of months.

With so many reports recently of Yahoo’s various plans to attempt something big in the video space, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear a related announcement from Mayer and co. sooner rather than later.

[Image: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock]

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