As the world waits to see if Yahoo will succeed in bringing Hulu into the Sunnyvale fold, it’s worth asking a long-term question about Yahoo and video. That question is this: Could Yahoo ever become the next major TV network — alongside ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC?
I think the answer is yes. And it’s especially likely when you throw Tumblr and Yahoo’s potential big mobile acquisitions into the mix.
To understand why, let’s start with the big changes in TV. If you’ve only skimmed the latest literature on where TV is headed, you’re familiar with two major trends. The first is the growth of cord-cutters: People who part ways with pay TV in favor of online and other video sources, like Hulu and Netflix. Cord-cutting numbers are heading north of a million viewers; there’s also a healthy population of cord-nevers — viewers who enter adulthood without ever getting pay TV at all.
The second major shift is in the TV experience itself. Simply put, the TV experience is growing closer to the online experience every day — between TV sets that easily integrate with social media and apps and the rise of addressable TV ads that target viewers directly, the way many online ads do.
The upshot is that we’re heading into a world where the Web and TV basically merge into a single premium video channel — or, at the very least, into two channels that overlap and interact tremendously.
Two kinds of businesses today are poised to do well in that new world:
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