Yahoo unveils Platinum paid service

The Web portal launches a paid video subscriber service that features news and entertainment clips--and pits the company against a service from RealNetworks.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read
Yahoo on Monday launched a subscription video service that features news, sports and entertainment clips, pitting the Web portal against a comparable service offered by RealNetworks.

Yahoo Platinum, as previously reported, will feature content from News Corp.'s Fox network, Viacom's CBS and Walt Disney's ABCNews.com. The service will also offer a sports package that includes live video from the men's NCAA basketball tournament and from specified NASCAR races.

The service will carry a monthly fee of $9.95 for the basic plan or $16.95 for the sports package.

As part of the broadband and dial-up Platinum service, subscribers can receive weekly access to video clips from such popular TV reality shows as "American Idol," along with programs such as ABC News' "World News Tonight," "20/20" and "Good Morning America"; and market reports from "CBS MarketWatch" TV program every 30 minutes.

The Yahoo Platinum SportsPak, meanwhile, will offer the first, second and regional semifinal rounds of the NCAA division I men's basketball championship beginning Tuesday, via access to SportsLine.com. It marks the first time the March madness event will be seen live over the Internet.

In the coming weeks, Yahoo Platinum is expected to pick up content from CNBC Dow Jones Business, National Geographic and Warren Miller Entertainment.

Yahoo plans to add more content to its existing categories and branch out into new categories, David Mandelbrot, Yahoo's general manager of media, entertainment, information and finance said in an interview last week. Music and children's programming may eventually be offered as well, if people want it, if it's available and if it fits into Yahoo's business model, he added.

"We're shifting from providing users with information on entertainment to providing entertainment," Mandelbrot said.

Yahoo package needs more content
Portal launches premium streaming video
and audio service in bid to boost revenue.

Yahoo, like other advertising-dependent Web sites, is seeking more revenue sources because of the economic downturn. The video service is just the latest paid version among Yahoo's products. The company's fee-based online radio service Launchcast Plus debuted in late January.

The Platinum service will place Yahoo in direct competition with RealNetworks' RealOne SuperPass. That service has garnered 900,000 subscribers who are willing to pay a monthly fee of $9.95.

The Platinum streaming video service also falls in line with Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel's plans to push the company's broadband efforts. Yahoo last September launched a co-branded digital subscriber line service with SBC Communications. During the past year, these efforts have bolstered Yahoo's total subscriber base to reach an excess of 2 million people.

News.com's Jim Hu contributed to this report .