Yahoo (YHOO) and ABC (DIS) just wrapped up a press conference at ABC’s Times Square studio to announce a major partnership between the two companies: they’re launching a new ‘News and Information Alliance’ that will see ABC News get a much more prominent presence throughout Yahoo. ABC News will also be launching several ‘web-first’ video series’ that will be appearing on Yahoo.
In short, Yahoo is reinventing its news site: ABC is bringing the premium content to the table, Yahoo is bringing its 100 million users.
A video played at the beginning of the conference made the mission clear: Yahoo and ABC News are gunning for CNN and other online news portals like The Huffington Post. To do that, Yahoo is augmenting its news articles with content produced by ABC News, including several new ‘web-first’ digital series featuring ABC News’s anchors. The video denounced the “blitz of headlines and information” seen across the web (they have a point), and says that the team are setting out to create richer stories.
The first video to be streamed as part of the partnership will be a live stream of George Stephanopoulos interviewing President Obama beginning at 2:35 PM EST this afternoon.
Yahoo and ABC say that “creativity is key” in the alliance — they’re looking to create content specifically suited for Yahoo’s web properties, as well as tablet and other mobile form factors. GoodMorningAmerica.com will be launching as a new portal on Yahoo News.
To monetize, at least initially, Yahoo and ABC will be selling advertising against its premium content. I asked if there were any plans to eventually monetize this content through in-app purchases and/or subscriptions. Ross Levinsohn, executive VP of Americas at Yahoo, didn’t rule it out, but says he isn’t going to predict the future. My hunch? Yep.
So is this a good move? I like it, though I want to see just what form this originally produced content takes, how long it remains exclusive on the web, and how much creativity will actually be involved. I think news on the web still has a long way to go, and more high-quality, premium content online is a good thing — and inevitable.
One reporter asked a series of questions about Carol Bartz, eventually asking Levinsohn if he’s gunning to take the helm. Levinsohn says this is the best job he’s had and gave an anecdote about his work history and talked about building good experiences (sounds like he’s saying “no”, but I’m not sure he explicitly said that at any point in his answer).