Yahoo and ABC News have formed a new content alliance that will make ABC the leading news provider on the Web portal and reach a combined U.S. audience of more than 100 million monthly. The partnership also calls for Yahoo and ABC to collaborate on new original Web series and co-branded content, as well as team on ad sales efforts.
The integration goes live today -- ABC News has a much more prominent presence on Yahoo News, the Yahoo home page and other parts of the site. A new joint site for ABC's "Good Morning America" has also been created on Yahoo, aimed at expanding online interaction around the network's morning show. The broadcast will periodically be streamed live via the new site as well.
The new original programming starting Monday -- which includes "Newsmakers," and will feature "online-first" interviews by ABC talent, including George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, with global leaders, celebrities and others -- allows users to submit questions through a social-media platform.
The other two shows at launch will be "Around the World with Christiane Amanpour," focusing on the biggest international stories of the day, and "This Could Be Big," a weekly look at new inventions and innovations hosted by "Nightline" anchor Bill Weir. Additional original series are expected to roll out through 2012.
Editorial teams from both companies will collaborate on branded content that will appear on Yahoo News and ABC News sites. They will also co-produce coverage for major news events and will have integrated bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Yahoo editorial staff and content will appear on air.
The ABC alliance comes as Yahoo struggles to regain ad revenue growth and audience attention in the face of heightened competition from Facebook and Google, along with smaller social media properties. Yahoo lately has been making a bigger bet on original video, with a slate that has grown to 20 shows, as a way to keep users sticking around.
"With the combined breadth, depth, experience and incredible talent at ABC, we think we can revolutionize the online and digital news landscape," said Ross Levinsohn, executive vice president of the Americas at Yahoo, at a Monday press conference.
He added the pact would create a "Super Bowl size" audience of more than 100 million overall for news programming on Yahoo, and 25 million on a daily basis.
Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, said the network already provides about a quarter of the video streams on Yahoo News, but wanted to deepen the relationship to do something "transformative" in online news. The deal came together after Levinsohn and Sherwood began talks about two months ago about how the organizations could work more closely together.
Part of that effort includes partnering on the ad side as well. In that vein, ABC will lead sales of co-branded properties during the upfront selling season, while Yahoo will manage sales during the rest of the year, the companies said. They will also jointly develop a set of online video ad opportunities and enhanced sponsorships for brands.
Levinsohn pointed out that the content deal with ABC also extends to mobile phones and tablets. Yahoo is expected to roll out its Livestand news reader application for tablets after announcing the initiative earlier this year. "This is as much a mobile deal as it is a PC deal," said Levinsohn.
Both sides said they would continue to maintain control of their own sites, and Yahoo News will continue to feature content from other news providers and experts.