Yahoo’s New Video Effort Symbolic of Its Troubles

Despite layoffs and a hotly contested acquisition offer from Microsoft, Yahoo found the time to relaunch the video section of its site last night. But the revamped site is an inadvertent metaphor for all the reasons Yahoo’s in trouble.

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In addition to a redesign, new features to the video section include a 16×9 player, larger file size limit for uploads, enhanced sharing options and in-depth profiles. The new look is clean and easy to navigate, and uploading videos is a snap. Yet it feels like a silo, devoid of a unified connection with the rest of the company. There is no real integration with the other divisions that could have made this so much more.

The current featured video is the new trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The trailer’s video page contains the video, the standard synopsis rating and playcount info, comments and related vids. But what you’d never know from just looking at it is that Yahoo has the exclusive with that trailer, and that just a click away at Yahoo Movies, there is a special Indiana Jones mini-section with previous Indy movie trailers, cast photos and more.

To be fair, there is a small link on the video homepage to this section. But why not either take people to the movie page (where the trailer’s in HD) or have the videos page announce that there are extra Indy goodies on the movie page?

Also baffling is the lack of promotion for all the other things you can do with your videos — on Yahoo — once you’ve uploaded it. The only mention of the online editing capabilities of Yahoo’s Jumpcut is at the bottom of the page. Again, this is a wasted opportunity; why not put that in big, bold letters? “Hey, we have an easy way for you to edit your video and here’s how!” Furthermore, even though I was signed in to Yahoo Video, when I clicked on “Edit video with Jumpcut,” it took me to the Jumpcut section, but didn’t recognize me. I had to sign in again.

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When companies get too big, they don’t communicate well internally. People protect their turf. There are politics involved. Watching or sharing video is becoming a key activity on the web, and Yahoo has the means to enhance that experience with all the tools it offers. But Yahoo didn’t. And with the prospect of the company becoming part of a bigger Microsoft (or someone else), chances are good it won’t.

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