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Yahoo Announces Comedy and Lots of Live Music at NewFront

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Ending the first day of NewFront season in New York City, Yahoo showed that it will take a diverse approach with original content in the coming year. Yahoo will focus on online originals, live events, digital magazines, and premium content.

“We’re at a critical moment for video consumption,” said Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer. Video today is cross-screen, interactive, and programmed by the viewer, she noted, and online video consumption is up 28 percent.

Rather than loading its newfront with original video series, Yahoo announced only two. “Sin City Saints,” created by Mike Tollin and Bryan Gordon, is a half-hour comedy that will follow a fictional Las Vegas basketball franchise. The team is “in a rebuilding mode from the get-go,” Tollin said.

Yahoo also announced “Other Space,” the first half-hour comedy from Paul Feig since “Freaks and Geeks.” It will follow a group of space travelers trapped in an alternate dimension. Both comedies will debut in 2015 and will release all at once to allow for binge viewing.

Yahoo is getting behind live music in a big way this year. Partnering with Live Nation, Yahoo will stream one live concert per day for a year. While no bands or singers were mentioned by name, Yahoo promised big acts. Besides the concerts themselves, Yahoo will stream backstage interviews, and will make over 1,200 live versions of songs available for on-demand listening for months after the concerts.

With an eye to mobile device users, Yahoo is adding a travel magazine to its collection, Yahoo Travel (it already offers Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Food). 

Yahoo offers plenty of premium content, meaning on-demand television shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and a variety of Comedy Central titles. The stars of “Broad City,” Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, made an appearance at the newfront, while Yahoo announced more premium content would come, but didn’t give specifics.

Katie Couric, Yahoo’s global news anchor, dropped by to interview some of the Yahoo department editors, and announced two news shows coming this year: “World 3.0,” an interview show with innovation leaders; and “Now I Get It” which will explain topics people have heard about, but might not understand (like Bitcoin and Edward Snowden).

Yahoo told the advertisers in the audience that it was working with comScore to bring more TV-like measurements to its online offerings. 

Brooklyn band American Authors closed the newfront with a half-hour concert.

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