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Yahoo launches short-film search engine

The Web portal giant says it has launched a search directory for online short films to add additional content to the entertainment areas of its service.

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Yahoo is screening a new film service.

The Web portal giant on Monday said it has launched a search directory for online short films, aiming to add additional content to the entertainment areas of its service.

Yahoo will use short films provided by a handful of online start-ups, including AtomFilms, FilmFilm, Hypnotic, Icebox and Ifilm. The directory will let Yahoo users search films by title, subject or genre.

The start-ups host short feature films or animation sequences on their sites. They also commonly buy rights to the short films and use both the Internet and traditional channels to distribute them.

Yahoo has put its fingers into music and other multimedia services on its site, such as sports broadcasts. As with the other areas on its service, the company has depended upon third-party content providers to fill in subject areas such as sports, news and movies.

The directory will be available in the site's movies area.

Internet media hubs such as Yahoo are increasingly trying to become You've got
Time Warner destinations of choice for entertainment fans. Yahoo has its work cut out for it. The company's major competitor, America Online, is trying to seal its merger with Time Warner, which owns a major record label and a major film studio. While AOL remains adamant that it will not give Warner Bros. content preferential treatment, many competitors in the entertainment industry are skeptical.

Nevertheless, the move toward short films is consistent with Yahoo's strategy to provide everything on the Web to its audience.

"We are providing a single place for people to be entertained through online shorts, one of the most dynamic entertainment vehicles on the Internet," Matt Rightmire, Yahoo's vice president of media and entertainment, said in a statement.

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