Blog Post

Yahoo To Kill Platinum Subscription Video Service

Well, I wasn’t far off the mark, was I?…Yahoo is expected to stop selling its streaming-video service, Yahoo Platinum, as a standalone product within the next few weeks.

The service will eventually find a home in Yahoo Plus, a premium-services bundle that’s been in the works for the past year and is expected to launch as soon as next month.

Yahoo is also expected to expand free video programming throughout its site and offer it as a perk for its broadband-access partnerships with SBC Communications and British Telecom.

The Implications: Despite what reams of words in this story say, the failure of Platinum has more to do with Yahoo’s own inadequacies than anything to do with what broadband subscribers will pay for (same is true for MSN): it is a tough business, this video distribution business, and it is not very different from what MSOs in the cable industry face. RealNetworks has reached where it has reached today due to its single-minded purpose of being a distribution player and a distribution player ONLY. For reasons of economics, it is clear that the media and distribution aspects of multi-media businesses are better kept separate. Some sort of control over the distribution mechanism is good, like RealNetworks has with its player. Also, a lot of context is important: plain video slapped online is not going to get you anywhere–text and audio based context is also as important. Rights negotiations are another minefield…take a thing like sports. You have to deal with all kind of sport league demands when you’re doing multi-media, from geographic restrictions to time-shifting etc…a pre-dominantly text-based media company like Yahoo DOES not have those skills, as it stands now…what does Jim Moloshok know about sports anyway?


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