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Yahoo's revival of 'Community' to premiere March 17

Fans of the show will be one step closer to the dream of six seasons and a movie when the misfits of Greendale Community College return -- this time on tech giant's video service, Yahoo Screen.

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"Community" is the centerpiece of Yahoo's online video push. Getty

Class at Greendale Community College will soon be back in session.

The sixth season of "Community," a cult sitcom that originally aired on NBC, will premiere on Yahoo Screen on March 17.

The premiere of the show is a significant step for Yahoo as it tries to fortify its digital media offerings. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has been trying to attract premium advertisers to its Web properties, which also include Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance.

It's one of several digital companies in the business of creating their own content, including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Unlike subscription services such as Netflix, which release an entire season of episodes all at once, Yahoo will release a new episode of "Community" online every Tuesday.

The release of "Community" is just the latest example of Silicon Valley's increasingly complicated relationship with Hollywood. Other tech companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, have made major investments in original content to stream over the Internet instead of broadcasting them on television. The goal in each case has been to create shows that draw new subscribers to their respective services.

That's worked for Netflix, which said it now counts more than 53 million worldwide subscribers. Some of those people came to watch the company's exclusive shows, such as the political thriller and the prison comedy "Orange is the New Black." Amazon also has started to see some success, getting acclaim for its "Transparent" comedy show about a transgender woman. Both Amazon and Netflix won Golden Globe awards on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Amazon said it has signed filmmaker Woody Allen to create his first-ever television series.

Tech companies have good reason to focus on online video. By 2018, video traffic will account for 84 percent of Internet traffic, according to a report released in June by network equipment maker Cisco Systems. That figure includes content from video-on-demand sites such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as sites like Google's YouTube.

Yahoo is trying to cash in with a video push of its own. CEO Marissa Mayer has said online video will be one of the keys to Yahoo's success as she works to turn around the company. In April, Yahoo announced two other original series, including one by Paul Feig, creator of the cult favorite "Freaks and Geeks." Yahoo also in June launched a partnership with the live events company Live Nation to stream one concert a day for the entire year. Yahoo so far hasn't broken down advertising revenue specifically related to online video.

The show "Community" follows a band of misfits at a community college, with a cast that includes Joel McHale and Alison Brie.

"It's the best show of all viewed on anything. I'm not going to say 'television,' because it's not on television," said McHale, in a tongue-in-cheek video announcing the premiere date. "You know why? It's better than television."

With the show's upcoming premiere, Yahoo is tapping into a much-beloved series with an already large fanbase. Netflix tried a similar strategy in 2013 when it resurrected the popular "Arrested Development," seven years after the comedy had been cancelled. The launch in May 2013 created huge buzz as fans binge-watched episodes over the Memorial Day weekend in the United States.

After NBC cancelled "Community," fans clamored for a white knight to step in, taking to Twitter with the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie. In March, they'll see at least part of the hashtag come to fruition.