Yahoo Debuts Tom Hanks In 'Electric City'
Several CEOs ago, Terry Semel envisioned Yahoo as a media-maker on par with any New York network or Hollywood studio.
Keeping the dream alive, Yahoo just debuted its glitziest project ever. Along with Tom Hanks’ Playtone production company and Reliance Entertainment, Yahoo’s new animated series, “Electric City” is set to make its global debut on July 17 on “Yahoo Screen.”
Created by and “starring” Hanks, the series is a 90-minute sci-fi adventure series set in a futuristic society, “Electric City.”
With the project, Yahoo is well on its way “to becoming the global destination for premium online content,” Erin McPherson VP and head of video at Yahoo, said Monday.
Using every asset at its disposal to achieve success, Yahoo is marketing the series as a “360-degree online interaction” of digital, social, mobile and gaming media.
The first 10 episodes, which are all five-to-seven minutes long, will premiere on Yahoo in mid-July, with the remaining episodes being released July 18 and July 19.
As part of the deal, Jump Games -- which is part of Reliance Entertainment -- will be releasing an interactive mobile application on iOS and Android.
Mobile audiences will also be able to play an original Role Playing Game featuring a main character from the online series, read digital comic-books that expand on the mythology of the online series, get sneak peeks from its development and access other exclusive content.
Designed specifically for the Web, “Electric City” on Yahoo Screen will feature an interactive online experience featuring a 3-D map of ‘Electric City,’ behind-the-scenes footage of the cast and casual games.
Analysts, however, question whether the project will be enough to get Yahoo's mojo back. “It’s probably a bit of stretch to say Yahoo is back on track thanks to one deal,” David Hallerman, principal analyst at eMarketer, said at the beginning of the year, after first getting wind of the project. “One deal is good, but a small thing overall.”
Still, late last year, Forrester credited Yahoo with helping to grow domestic digital video ad spend. Alongside content hubs like Hulu and Google, Forrester said Yahoo was giving advertisers more reason to realign their TV budgets. Partly as a result, by 2016, domestic digital video ad spending will explode by more than 250% -- from $2 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion, Forrester predicted.