Yahoo! has closed down Screen, its online video portal. The company debuted Yahoo Screen in 2013 to combine original programming, with content from media partners like Live Nation and ABC. Yahoo spent over $100 million producing original shows. The number excludes the expenditure on employees. It also clinched deals to syndicate popular shows like reruns of “Saturday Night Live”. CEO, Marissa Mayer, had wanted to attract premium advertising.
However Screen failed to be popular with viewers or generate significant revenue. The portal’s unique video watchers remained static at 25 million starting from February 2014 to September 2015. In the same period, Alphabet watchers of YouTube increased by 15% to 862 million. Facebook’s viewers increased 50% to 589 million. Those figures exclude mobile customers of the Yahoo Screen app for Apple and Google devices.
A Yahoo spokesperson confirmed the termination of Screen. Yahoo is presently redirecting people from Screen to its home page. It has shifted all of its online videos to Yahoo Music and Yahoo TV.
Screen’s closure may be the first step in a major restructuring happening at Yahoo. CEO Marissa Mayer has committed to have the company focus on fewer domains given poor results and increasing pressure from most investors. Ms. Mayer has to tackle declining employee morale and the outflow of top executives. The winding down of Yahoo Screen is one more sign of trouble of the Marissa Mayer-led organization, which is contemplating the spinoff of its core business after poor results from her multi-year turnaround attempts.
Increased spinoffs in the video domain of the organization’s business was widely anticipated under Martha Nelson, head of media who assumed control over the division when Kathy Savitt, chief marketing officer left to join STX Entertainment last year.
It is not clear whether the closure of Screen also involves layoffs. Ongoing video ventures are likely to be still available on Yahoo such as Katie Couric’s daily news reports. Yahoo’s original comedies are accessible in the TV section of the site. Yahoo says its other video endeavors will be routed to its homepage, which still receives a huge quantity of web traffic, and to its existing online portals such as Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Sports.