Last year, Yahoo! signed an exclusive one-year deal with Broadway Video to license the 38-year catalog of Saturday Night Live content. As part of the deal, SNL archives were removed from other streaming services, giving Yahoo! some valuable content for which to monetize. However four months into Yahoo!’s one-year deal, the company is barely delivering any ads within the videos and isn’t generating much revenue.
Last week I went on an SNL viewing binge and watched eleven separate SNL videos, totaling almost sixty minutes of content. Of that, I got only one fifteen second pre-roll ad delivered to me during the entire process of clicking on the eleven videos. With the industry average for videos pre-roll ads being about $25 CPM, that means I got to watch nearly an hour of content, for which Yahoo! only got paid about two cents for the single ad they delivered. Testing the service again today, I started fifteen videos and once again, only got one ad delivered.
While financial terms of the Yahoo! and Broadway Video deal were not disclosed, insiders say that Yahoo! spent more than $10M to license the catalog, which aligns with previous numbers we have heard discussed regarding how much Hulu has paid in the past. Yahoo! spent a lot of money to get the content, but doesn’t seem to have any real strategy of how to take advantage of the eyeballs and traffic they are getting to it.
Yahoo! did say that their Screen app would initially launch without ads, as the company was still “looking at the most engaging ad formats for Yahoo and our users over time.” But four months into their twelve-month deal for SNL’s content, Yahoo! still isn’t making any real effort monetization effort with the videos. Why did Yahoo! spend so much money to license content, only to draw users to a video hub with hardly any adds in the video or even on the page or in the app itself? Yahoo! got a lot of press over the deal with Broadway Video, but so far, that’s all they got. Getting traffic to content isn’t worth anything if it isn’t monetized and right now, as it stands, Yahoo! paid a lot of money for something that has only amounted to free viewing of SNL videos with no ads. Great deal for consumers, but a bad one for Yahoo!.