Life at Yahoo

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Erin McPherson

In My Own Words - The Power of Yahoo!’s Original Programming

Posted: 27th of October, 2011
When people ask me how I’m doing at Yahoo lately, I tell them I think I have the best role at the company, and I’m not just being politically correct. As the head of video, I‘ve inherited an amazing existing business and an incredible team of professionals—so part of my job is just spreading the word about what we already do so well. The other part of my job is to take this existing success and build on it—and luckily, my team and I have the support of the entire organization as we attempt to make a bigger, bolder mark in the online video space. I am tired of hearing only Netflix, YouTube and Hulu named as the big movers in online video. We deserve to be among those ranks and I won’t rest until we are.

Today, the video market is crowded, chaotic and moves at a frenetic pace. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. With our scale, leading media properties and premium advertising business, Yahoo!, by all accounts, should be a leader in premium online video. After all, Yahoo has been showing consumers what is interesting, important and entertaining online as long as any player out there. Leading in consumer media experiences is in our DNA and is our birthright.

So about that existing success: Today, Yahoo produces and/or distributes up to 26 original video series on our network and reaches nearly 27 million people a month.* Yahoo has ALL 10 out of the top 10 original programs on the web.* Yahoo original programs are more visited than all of And recently, Yahoo Studios received an Emmy nomination, an Edward R. Murrow award and a Webby Award for its original program “Second Act,” sponsored by General Mills.

And now, about the future: We are taking our success in original video and building on it, adding unique voices, known personalities and experiences you will only be able to get on Yahoo A preview of what’s to come:

Female-Centric Programming Slate: The television networks were not alone in announcing their fall programming line-ups this year. Yahoo!, the premier digital media company, will be launching its own first full slate of original, premium, TV-quality web shows. Each of the eight new original shows is designed to reach a predominantly female audience and will cover a variety of lifestyle topics, such as healthy living, relationships, celebrity, entertainment, and more. The programs are being produced both by our award-winning in-house Yahoo Studios team and by leading industry partners, including Ben Silverman’s Electus, Fishbowl Media, and Morgan Spurlock. What makes these shows especially exciting is that Yahoo is financing production and will program and promote the shows as never before. With a creative canvas that enables advertisers to reach and immerse digital video audiences with relevant messages and out-of-the-box ad formats, marketers can now participate in “share of voice” buying along with audience-focused programming. This offering complements our existing offerings in video, which include award-winning branded entertainment programs as well as inventory targeting a specific audience in an unparalleled way.

A Decade of Difference: The Concert for the 10th Anniversary of the William J. Clinton Foundation: On October 15, 2011, Yahoo will be the only place to watch the live concert event of the year: A Decade of Difference, The Clinton Foundation 10th Anniversary Concert event, featuring the biggest musical acts in the world, including Lady Gaga, Bono, the Edge and Usher. Yahoo is bringing this event to a global audience in partnership with Control Room, the producers of other world-class events like LiveAid. This is sure to be an unforgettable experience and Yahoo is the place to bring it to life for a global audience.

Original Voices Only on Yahoo!: We are continuing to expand our content offerings by working with unique global voices and world-wide partners to bring the best premium content and original programming to Yahoo We have some exciting upcoming projects featuring top Hollywood talent and unique storytelling we will unveil in the near future!

We will succeed, but as importantly, we will fail. The web is about experimentation, and fun. We don’t need to be anyone else—Netflix, Hulu, YouTube—there is room for all of us; we can and should be a place for premium contextualized content and video.

Erin McPherson
VP & Head of Video
* Source: comScore Media Builder Custom Report, US, August 2011, among a set including more than 75 original video programs, as custom-defined by Yahoo!, on the following properties: Yahoo!, YouTube, Hulu, MSN, AOL, Forbes, PopSugar, IGN, TMZ, New York Times,, ABC News, Sugar, Funny or Die, She Knows, CraveOnline.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series entitled, “In My Own Words,” that will give Yahoo employees the opportunity to share their own stories about Yahoo!.