The Web giant in November announced the former "Today Show" co-host and "CBS News" anchor would join Yahoo as “global anchor” to lead its news coverage and host monthly interviews with high-profile figures and thought leaders. Couric is by far the biggest media personality Yahoo has signed on to boost engagement and bring some star power to the site.
But Yahoo on Monday also emphasized that she would not be placed on a pedestal. Starting today, for example, Couric is soliciting users to submit questions, photos and videos for Bloomberg via her Tumblr page katiecouric.tumblr.com as well as through Yahoo and Flickr.
Yahoo also promises it will rely on crowdsourcing via social networks to select the newsmakers and stories that Couric will purse as they start to trend. Besides interviews, she will also host live events and global issues forums driven by ideas surfaced from users through Yahoo properties, as well as segments breaking down subjects culled from viral and trending topics.
Judging by the current top 10 list of trending topics on the Yahoo home page, Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t chosen via crowdsourcing. Otherwise, her initial interview subject might have been Ashley Greene, Gina Carano or Victoria Azarenka instead. In any case, one might have expected Couric to debut with a bigger “get” (the Pope?) or an A-list celebrity to make more of a splash.
Yahoo bills the Bloomberg interview -- which will appear on Yahoo News on-demand -- as an “exclusive.” But unless he plans to announce that he’s running for president in 2016, it’s not likely to generate much buzz around Couric’s new gig. Perhaps she wants to establish her serious news bona fides before mixing it up with lighter-weight segments in “Today Show” fashion.
The company calls Couric’s program “the next wave in Yahoo’s original video content and a key milestone in the expansion of Yahoo News.” Yes, she’s big name hire but whether her arrival proves to be a milestone depends on whether she helps establish Yahoo as more of a video hub where people spend time and advertisers spend more money.
Yahoo's bet is that by combining a well-known TV personality with social networking properties like Flickr and Twitter, it can appeal to its Boomer base while bringing in Millennial viewers as well. It may not have much to lose, but how much Yahoo stands to gain from the move is the bigger question.