Yahoo is closing in on a summer launch for a YouTube-like video platform, according to a report by Ad Age, after contract issues snagged the service that aims to lure stars from Google's massive site with more lucrative ad-revenue deals.
Citing unnamed people briefed on the plans, the report said Yahoo is in talks with video producers to premiere the video service this summer. It will let creators set up their own channels and host videos on Yahoo, setting up a publishing dashboard that can distribute across Yahoo properties like its home page and blogging service Tumblr, while offering a more favorable ad-revenue split than YouTube's standard 45 percent cut. Word of Yahoo's aims for a YouTube-like service bubbled up earlier this year.
Under CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo has been homing in on video as a way to revive its once-supreme Internet brand through such moves as hiring Katie Couric, launching its Screen app with media-giant partnerships, and intensifying its work on long-form original series. However, YouTube's gigantic scale -- 6 billion hours of video are watched each month, which roughly equates to every single person on the planet watching about 50 minutes of video on the Google site -- make it a Goliath to go up against.
The counterbalance to YouTube's reach is its stinginess on sharing advertising revenue with creators. While the most popular YouTube stars can leverage their fanbase to score valuable partnerships with brands, the revenue that's actually generated for creators off YouTube itself is often meager except for a high-powered few.
A Yahoo spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation. A message to Google and YouTube seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.
Investors were unruffled by the news, with Yahoo shares recently down 5 cents, or less than one percentage point, at $34.97.