Yahoo has launched its first mobile application, the Yahoo Screen which will allow users to browse across various categories of video programs on their touchscreen smartphones. The Sunnyvale (California) based company strives to offer a video watching experience on touchscreen phones comparable to surfing channels on a television.
While the Yahoo Screen is currently available only for iPhones and iPads, Yahoo also plans to develop a compatible version for android phones and tablets. The new video application launch is part of the company CEO Marissa Mayer’s initiative to expand Yahoo’s services and mobile applications.
The video application has developed by a New York based engineering team led by Robby Stein whose start-up company, ‘Stamped’ was acquired by Yahoo in October 2012. Reportedly, Mayer and Stein have previously worked together at Google.
Commenting on the Yahoo Screen, Stein says, “Watching video has become something people do almost as much as they check email and we think we have come up with something that is as intuitive to use as your TV.” That said, Yahoo is following the strategy of restricting video runtime to 3-11 minutes, based on the belief that viewers would prefer smaller servings on small screens and long videos on a larger monitor. Although the Yahoo Screen will be featuring various television shows and programs, the application will be free of cost. Yahoo is betting high on digital advertising instead of charging money to view videos.
The ads however won’t feature on the mobile application, but only when the videos are being viewed on a browser. This move seems to be an attempt to boost ad revenue, an area where Yahoo has been struggling for a while now. The recent quarter has witnessed a decline of 4 percent in ad revenue against the same period in 2012. Google on the other hand has increased its ad revenue by 14 percent in the last quarter. Whether this new video application can wash away Yahoo’s troubles is yet to be seen.
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