Yahoo has shut down its video service called Yahoo Screen, putting an end to the effort to compete against YouTube and capture the video market. Instead of having a centralized hub for shows like Community, Saturday Night Live, and a lineup of original series, content is now being divided up among the various magazines and sections in Yahoo’s network.
First reported by Variety, the end of Yahoo Screen happened in December, with a company spokesperson telling the publication: “At Yahoo, we’re constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience. With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place.”
Critics have been quick to pounce on this move as another sign Yahoo is in trouble that could sound the death knell for Marissa Mayer’s tenure as chief executive.
Launched in 2013, Yahoo Screen took all the video content scattered throughout Yahoo’s extensive network and made it easy for viewers to find in one app. Shows that one could find included Losing It With John Stamos and Jack Black’s Ghost Ghirls, and it even provided a place for Yahoo to test and promote its original programming.
Mayer put so much behind video that it became part of her MaVeNS strategy: mobile, video, native, and social. In 2014, she touted Yahoo Screen’s success, saying that in the second quarter, it saw a 22 percent quarter over quarter increase in daily active users, which equated to a 67 percent annual increase.
Ultimately, things didn’t work out well for the Sunnyvale, California-based company; not only did it take a $42 million write-down for Community, but Mayer signaled a change in direction (surprise!) during Yahoo’s fourth quarter earnings call.
Now instead of residing in a central repository, premium content is going to be split up into different magazines, which might make things more relevant to users. So now you’re going to find future livestreams of NFL games (if there are any) on Yahoo Sports, concerts on Yahoo Music, and more. But the shutdown of Yahoo Screen closes a chapter in the company’s efforts to really capitalize on video content and compete against YouTube.