Yahoo7 expands into original content, eyes millennial audience

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 21 July 2015
Sin City Saints

Yahoo7 is expanding the remit of its catch-up service Plus7 by bringing a range of original programming over from the US, in a bid to reposition itself as the Seven network’s fourth channel.

Following the announcement of Yahoo - the US company which owns Yahoo7 in a joint venture with Seven West Media - branching into original programming at the IAB Newfronts in New York in April, today Yahoo7 has brought the two series to Australia.

The two shows, Sin City Saints, by Emmy nominated director Bryan Gordon and Other Space, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, will now both be available exclusively on the Plus7 platform along with a lineup of six other programs.

Yahoo7 head of TV and global content Cora Spear told AdNews that the two series will position Plus7 as a premium platform for video in this market.

She said the content move is part of a strategy to boost Yahoo7's appeal to a millennial audience, who increasingly seek out entertainment options on demand.

“Millenials are a massive audience and they're a growing audience,” Spear said.

“The traditional way of watching TV is shifting and millennial are very comfortable with online and watching TV that way. This is part of the overall strategy from Yahoo, from a global point of view, is that this audience is really key to the future.

“Making sure that we've got the right content and product to attract those guys is going to be really important to the success in the next few years.”

The company is also looking to appeal to the audience through the launch of a short form video channel which will “target the opportunity to snack” with mini TV shows or bite-size piece of content on mobile, which Spear said will “make sure we’re available outside your home as well as in it.”

The other growth area in the Australian market is Plus7 Live, which will see the platform stream live events from not only Yahoo but Seven in the “coming future.”

Australia is the second market outside of the US to air the Yahoo Original series.

“Plus7 is a really successful catchup service and that has been the positioning for the last few years,” Spear said.

“But we also want Plus7 to be a TV destination in its own right, almost positioning it as the fourth channel in the network Seven stable.

“It's the perfect opportunity to reposition the platform and the service with these two new shows.”

The Plus7 platform operates on a free, ad funded model which Spear said differentiates it from other platforms that work on a SVOD model. She said the expanded service also provides a premium offering for advertisers.

While at the moment there are no plans for Australian original programming, Spear said there have been several conversations about bringing that to life long term.

“It's not going to be in the near future but certainly it’s a long term plan that we're looking at, at the moment, to bring that real Australian flavour to some of the content that we produce,” Spear said.

To launch the expanded service Yahoo7 is brining a range of activations throughout Sydney, today at Martin Place, Thursday at Westfield Parramatta and at Saturday at Westfield Miranda.

The activations will include basketball team The Sydney Kings and features a basketball half court, with consumers able to go into a draw to win cash if they make the shot.

There is also an online competition to win a trip to Vegas to “experience Sin City”.

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