April 28, 2014, 8:30 PM — Yahoo is pushing harder into the production of original content, with two online TV series, another digital magazine and a concert-streaming series added to its growing lineup.
The two comedy shows will launch on Yahoo Screen, the company's video portal, delivering 30-minute episodes that can be viewed either on the desktop or in the Yahoo Screen mobile app. The series were announced Monday evening during an event for advertisers in New York, as well as online.
The shows have some credible industry clout behind them. One, a sci-fi adventure series called "Other Space," comes from director and author Paul Feig, creator of late-'90s cult hit "Freaks and Geeks." The other, "Sin City Saints," comes from executive producer Mike Tollin, who worked on Superman teen drama "Smallville," and Emmy-nominated director Bryan Gordon.
The shows will be made available for free. Advertising will appear alongside the video, including sponsored landing pages, which will surround the video player with an ad before or while the show is playing.
Yahoo is committing to eight episodes of each show, signaling a big investment in a type of programming that can cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to create and broadcast.
Also on Monday, Yahoo announced a partnership with Live Nation, the country's largest concert promoter, to stream one concert live on Yahoo every day for a year. The cereal brand Kellogg is the first to announce it will sponsor the Live Nation channel, Yahoo said.
Over the past year, Yahoo has been on a media blitz, expanding its library of licensed online content, including episodes of "Saturday Night Live" and shows from Comedy Central. Yahoo has also launched new digital magazines around food and technology and has hired some big names, including TV anchor Katie Couric and tech columnist David Pogue, to help with its news publishing efforts.
Yet another digital magazine, this one about travel, is also on the way, Yahoo said Monday.
With its TV shows, Yahoo hopes to draw large numbers of viewers and, in turn, advertisers. But getting Internet users to view Yahoo as a destination for original TV programming will be a challenge, especially with a plethora of other options available. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Microsoft have also recently jumped into the original programming game.