Like a drunken train engineer taking railroad curves at a dangerously high speed, Yahoo’s forthcoming video site rival to YouTube is threatening to crash and burn in spectacular fashion.
The indicators are all there:
1. They’re offering “loaded” deals to major YouTube creators to bait them into switching channels.
Why this won’t happen:
Lucrative or not, channel creators realize they are only as potent and valuable as their audiences. And a large portion of creator audiences have already shown they don’t travel well. Case in point: 500,000 of Grace Helbig’s “subscribers” didn’t make the jump when she left Omnivision (formerly MyDamnChannel). They’re still there, subscribed away to Daily Grace while her new Grace Helbig channel is the only one putting out fresh content. Now imagine jumping off YouTube entirely — even a loaded deal in the creators favor doesn’t seem nearly as sweet when faced with the prospect of regrowing their channels nearly from scratch.
Major YouTubers will only consider making this transition once they’ve seen an established pattern of success and growth on Yahoo. But considering that luring top talent seems to be a large portion of Yahoo’s intended marketing strategy, the one doesn’t exactly work without the other.
2. Yahoo has floundered their video site to this point
When Melissa Mayer came aboard as CEO of Yahoo in 2012, resuscitating Yahoo’s lagging video side was seen as a high priority. Since then, delays on introducing the site and failed partnerships have run rampant. That usually isn’t a good sign. Remember when that “Spiderman” Broadway musical kept being delayed and you just knew it was going to suck? Well, that Yahoo site should have already been here, but it has been pushed back to a “summer release.” And this comes on the heels of failed partnerships with Hulu and Dailymotion (yeah, those guys). Now they’re going after Fullscreen who is trying to make their own rival to YouTube. It’s already a crowded marketplace, and Yahoo, frankly, doesn’t have the cache to make lemonade out of what appears to be lemon-shaped shit.
3. Yahoo allegedly doesn’t even know how their new site is going to run.
According to this lovely and telling snippet from an AdAge article about the new service:
“Yahoo has also given mixed messages on how videos will be promoted. In a recent meeting, a Yahoo business development executive told one producer that the company was shifting to a more algorithmic-based approach. But a Yahoo homepage editor was present at the meeting. ‘That’s when I got the real sense that they don’t have a clue,’ the producer said.”
So now with delays and an apparently faulty plan for luring in the big talent, Yahoo is banking on what exactly? Their best bet was to throw money at a mid-sized competitor and now with that plan seemingly off the table, all they’ve got left is to limp into creation and start costing top brass their jobs. My guess is whenever this crash appears on the landscape (expect it to delay the launch again), it’s going to be brutal. Hell, I’ll go out on that limb — this site will be the death of Yahoo (unless Tumblr can do something majestic).
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