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December 17, 2010

Erin McPherson, head of Originals and Video Programming for Yahoo, recently laid out Yahoo's video strategy for 2011 in an interview with Beet TV. Currently Yahoo has about 25 short form video series airing regularly. Ranging in focus from 'Tech Ticker,' to the quirky news/trivia show 'Who New?' many of the shows are "wrap ups" that offer a macro look at an issue or topic in a short video much like Newsy's Sunday Soundbite Analysis.

In 2011, Yahoo is looking to expand and diversify its catalogue of shows. McPherson cites finance news and scripted shows as upcoming features on the Yahoo! content menu. While they have many category-specific news shows, Yahoo has yet to include a comprehensive video news show. As far as news goes, there is of course the highly trafficked Yahoo News along with 'The Upshot,' a news aggregation and analysis blog. McPherson hints that 2011 will see the inclusion of a short form video news service.

The current programming shows just how open and daring the company is - many of its shows experiment with format and content. However, if 'The Upshot' is any indication, it seems likely that this show will feature multisource news analysis similar to what we do here at Newsy. These changes come on the heels of a two-year branding process.

Yahoo has slowly been attracting top talent in the pursuit of establishing itself as a credible news provider. In the interview McPherson points out that the shows that have been created so far haven't been branded and she hopes to more closely align new content with the Yahoo brand. This emphasis on branding and brand credibility is part of the long-term strategic goals of the company. Yahoo isn't just concerned with what is in its videos but also where they're found. With a huge mobile reach and plans to create widgets embedded on Internet TV platforms, the company is making smart moves - diversifying its content and distributing it in the most relevant platforms.

Regarding its foray into the Internet TV market, Yahoo marketing executive Russ Schafer explains,"We are adding a very tangible monetization element to the Connected TV platform that didn't exist before by giving developers and publishers the opportunity to create paid widgets." Faced with extraordinary competition from Facebook and Google, and unrelenting scrutiny from the press, Yahoo will be an interesting company to watch as it unveils new strategy and products in 2011.