Yahoo May Double Original Video Programming

YahooFrom a journalist’s perspective, following Yahoo’s web video plans have been fun, because they have been all over the map. It’s been ramped up, pared down, sidelined and streamlined. But Yahoo’s strategy of finding an audience first and building a show around it seems to be working for the company. Yahoo says today it’s looking to produce more original content.

In a weekend Variety article about Yahoo’s web video moves, Jimmy Pitaro, Yahoo’s vice-president of media explained:

The key, he said, is to create original shortform programming that builds on content in core sectors such as sports, entertainment and music. Yahoo now produces 10% of its video, the rest supplied by partners, but Pitaro expects that to increase to 15% within the next year. He said it may increase to as “high as 20%” but was unlikely to surpass that percentage due to cost concerns.

Pitaro even reaffirms that web video is a priority for CEO Carol Bartz, who declared her bullish love for video earlier this summer (at a time when Yahoo’s video execs were fleeing).

Given its bungling in the sector, it’s easy to forget that Yahoo has the third-biggest audience of unique video viewers (behind YouTube (s GOOG) and Microsoft (s MSFT) sites). For the month of July, Yahoo attracted more than 50 million video viewers, and generated more than 355 million video plays, according to comScore.

From what Pitaro says, the future of Yahoo’s video programming looks a lot like its current programming — cheap, infotainment style programs that are 5 minutes or less and come with a sponsor attached. Sticking with this low-cost plan is a good play for Yahoo. It’s in keeping with the brand and what people use the site for: quick hits of personal information relayed in an entertaining fashion. (Plucky web video creators looking for a sugar daddy should take note.)

Who knows? Following this path, Yahoo may just provide us reporters not just with good stories, but also good news.