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Yahoo To Emulate Netflix ‘House Of Cards’ Success

Following on from Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ success, Yahoo has suggested the firm will seek to produce more original TV content. Does this mean the company is moving away from its traditional core offerings?

 

Yahoo is aspiring to produce more original television content to follow the success of services like Netflix, according to one of its most senior leaders.

Dawn Airey, senior vice-president Europe, Middle East and Africa at the tech company, told an audience at The Guardian Changing Media Summit this week that she is hoping the firm will start producing more “emblematic” TV shows in the next few months and years, pointing to the success of Netflix’s cult show House of Cards.

Starring Kevin Spacey and with its first two episodes directed by David Fincher, the man behind Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac, the dark political thriller has used big names and word-of-mouth appeal to pull in strong viewing figures and bring the streaming service to a new audience.

It seems that the lesson has not been lost on Yahoo, since Ms Airey – who worked as a TV executive before moving to the tech firm – explained that it will be looking for similar “big things that really stand out”.

Yahoo currently spends $500 million every year on original content, she said, from digital magazines to a few programmes such as Ghost Ghirls, which suggests it may well need to up its budget somewhat if it is hoping to attract major Hollywood figures and their considerable fan bases. But with Ms Airey claiming it is unlikely spending will rise in the EMEA region, it could be that other parts of the world get to reap the benefits first.

 

The suggestion continues with Yahoo’s apparent trend towards diversifying its products. It has just launched the new Classic Games portal, which is available for iOS and Android as well as the web. The company’s stock has risen by nearly 150 per cent as a result of its stake in Alibaba Group, although the e-commerce giant has announced plans to float in the US that will mean Yahoo sells much of its stock.

Widening its reach is a logical move – the search engine on which Yahoo originally established itself has long been sidelined in favour of Google, and it is unlikely to claw back much of that market share.

But the focus on original content, and Netflix in particular, indicates that companies are increasingly aware of how entertainment is changing. Viewers who can watch TV at any time will make a point of seeking out quality, and production companies will have to make it worth their while.


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