Yahoo isn’t just making a play for YouTube’s audience; the online company is also reportedly going after Netflix, with CEO Marissa Mayer looking to order up at least four original Web series. According to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo plans to put a lot of resources behind half-hour comedies with budgets ranging from $700,000 to a few million bucks. Yahoo is allegedly trying to attract writers and directors with prior TV experience; one source told the WSJ that Yahoo wants to “blow it out big time,” giving us an idea about how serious the company is.
Marissa Mayer could reportedly show off a pilot as early as April 28 to advertisers when Yahoo holds its “NewFront” event. Original content has become a huge part of the online market, with Netflix really setting an example with shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Yahoo, traditionally known for services (Mail, Flickr, Tumblr, etc.), wants to get in on this new trend while the iron is hot. Another source told the WSJ that Yahoo is looking to match the “same type of shows that Netflix and Amazon are eyeing.”
Amazon recently ordered six more original shows, and Microsoft is reportedly working on its own original content for the Xbox crowd. Clearly there’s huge interest in creating compelling content outside of regular networks. Sony is also toying with the idea of original programming coming to the PlayStation Network. WSJ said Yahoo hasn’t secured any deals for original programming just yet, and there’s still doubt among the Yahoo camp that anything of substance will come out of it.
WSJ’s report mostly talks about Yahoo’s hope to attract high-end advertisers, but the real meat is that cord cutters could have yet another source of quality content. If Yahoo can secure the right writers and directors, then Mayer will definitely have ammo to help turn the Internet portal around. But with such incredible programming coming from others sources around the Internet, Yahoo will find itself swimming upstream.