Yahoo!, the place where you had an email address 15 years ago (or if you still have one if you’re me), had a video section on its site for a long time after the creation of YouTube (which its competitor Google eventually bought it out), but in 2011 the company decided to revamp its video section in Yahoo! Filter and focus on creating original web series. “Burning Love”, a parody of reality shows created by Erica Oyama, was probably the most successful series. Although they named star actors and had some production value, the shows were still web series. Episodes were between 5 and 12 minutes long, which in the early 2010s was supposed to be anyone capable of watching videos online. If the shows had their fans, they weren’t necessarily the most viral outlets, especially since Yahoo! as a search engine and email platform was already in decline.
In 2015, Yahoo! The screen has become a little too ambitious. He decided to do full, proper TV shows with half-hour runtimes and all. The platform had the sitcom “Sin City Saints”, starring Malin Åkerman, and the sci-fi comedy “Other Space”, created by Paul Feig. It was also when the makers behind the scenes took a leap of faith in bringing “Community” back from the dead, believing that the show’s die-hard fans would flock to the service and breathe new life into it. This, as you can probably guess, did not happen. Of course, some “Community” fans came to watch the show, but if they were like me, they would just go there to watch “Community” when a new episode appeared. I was not browsing Yahoo! Screen’s catalog to discover all its shows and give them more advertising revenue.
Yahoo! Screen tried to associate its entire service with a show that was incredibly niche rather than bringing a show to a platform that was already successful. Yahoo! ended up having to write off about $42 million and canceling all of his shows. In a 2015 earnings call [via Variety], former Yahoo! Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman said of the cancellations:
“We thought about it a lot, and what we concluded is (for) certain of our original (series) video, we couldn’t see a way to make money over time… We’re not saying that we’re not going to do them at all in the future. But what we’re saying is that in at least three cases it didn’t work out the way we had hoped, and we decided to move on.
Yahoo! Screen has never done another series. “Community” may have had its sixth season, but it killed a streaming service in the process. If you’re going to go out, you might as well do it in a burst of glory.