Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) has released its first video app, Yahoo Screen. The new app, tailored for use on tablets and smartphones, wherein users can watch different channels just like they watch on the TV at home. The users can surf channels by flipping fingers across the screen rather than using a remote. The channels come in pre-organized categories which will make it easier for users to select a channel of their choice. The new app, currently available only on Apple devices iPad and iPhone, will soon be available for android and windows phones. The app release is an attempt by Yahoo to become an integral part of the everyday lives of people, as the amount of time people spend online has for the first time crossed the time they spend watching TV (report by emarketer.com).
The app has been developed by a team of engineers led by Robby Stein; Marissa Mayer’s former colleague at Google, whose start-up Stamped was bought out by Yahoo after Marissa took over as CEO. In addition to this launch, Yahoo is rolling out eight comedy series made exclusively for Yahoo screen along with 700 clips of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" broadcast over the past 38 years. All this will be available to viewers absolutely free of cost. According to Robby Stein, watching videos is a key element in people’s lives and Yahoo screen gives Yahoo a strong product in that area, making watching video online as effortless as watching it on a TV. The company has made available all the episodes of its comedy releases at once, giving users an option to watch it at a stretch if they would like to. This is something similar to Netflix, which caused the phenomena of binge viewing by releasing multiple episodes of its shows ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New black.’
Yahoo is releasing all videos at absolutely no charge which is in complete contrast to other online streaming companies who charge subscription for their services. Yahoo Inc. hopes to make money through increased advertising revenues, although the advertisements will not be appearing on the app immediately. Is this a move which aims to address the root of current problems at Yahoo? The biggest current problem at Yahoo has been falling advertising revenues. The company, in its latest earnings report, had announced a fall in advertising revenues even though the earnings increased 66% Y/Y. The company is focussed on trying to improve this one metric, hoping to increase its advertising revenues with products like Yahoo Screen, which could result in a change in the company’s fortunes. Yahoo stock price was up 3.8% in yesterday’s trading to close the day at a stock price of $29.24. The stock has gained over 100% since the appointment of Marissa Mayer as CEO.
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