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Yahoo! Looking for its 'House of Cards'

21 Mar, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Dotcom pioneer joining bandwagon of media properties greenlighting original content for over-the-top video platforms

Yahoo! may be a dotcom pioneer, but the venerable brand says it’s playing catch-up in the burgeoning world of original scripted content.

Yahoo! is seeking exclusive programming for its 27 million unique global visitors that could emulate the success of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” Dawn Airey, SVP of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Yahoo!, told The Guardian Changing Media Summit in London.

"When it comes to original content, one of my observations of the business is we have to do a few more emblematic big things that really stand out," Airey said March 19. "If you look at what Netflix did with ‘Cards’ [it was] very, very, very clever."

Yahoo! is no stranger to original content, spending $500 million annually on Web series such as “Burning Love” and “Ghost Ghirls,” among others. The site has greenlighted original programming since for years, even proclaiming ownership of 21 of the top 25 online video shows in 2012. But none of them captured the public's eye as "Cards."

Airey, who previously held executive positions at Sky and ITV, wants higher-profile content she envisions competing against “Cards” for eyeballs and critical acclaim — in the United States.

While Netflix has helped popularize U.K. programming in the states, Airey said she has no plans to up production of original content specifically for U.K. audiences. Yahoo! currently streams celebrity interview show “The Shizzle," featuring Jamie Lang (“Made in Chelsea”).

"In EMEA as a region, our investment in original content will probably not see a huge step change from where we are. I am not about to spend a vast amount of money on original production for example in the U.K." Airey said.

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