Yahoo Ends Bangs 'Adventures'

Yahoo is canceling "Richard Bangs Adventures" only a year after launching the video travelogue as one of its first original shows.

A Yahoo spokesman said that the program, featuring veteran explorer and travel author Bangs, had failed to build "a large and loyal audience" because of the roughly month-long gaps between new installments. During its run starting last October, "Adventures" drew only about 500,000 unique visitors a month--well below the 1 million-user threshold to be counted by Nielsen//NetRatings.

In an interview earlier this month, Yahoo News General Manager Neil Budde indicated that the future of the show was uncertain. The demise of "Adventures" reflects a broader decision by Yahoo to pull back on ambitious original projects in favor of a greater emphasis on adapting third-party media and user-generated content.

Yahoo, however, remains committed to "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone," the other original show it introduced last year. That series, in which backpack journalist Sites reports from war zones around the world, has attracted an audience about twice that of "Adventures." The Sites show also features a steadier flow of video reports than does the Bangs program. Yahoo is expected to bring Sites back to the United States for the upcoming season of the "Hot Zone."

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Yahoo had hoped at one time that such original programming would differentiate it from competitors such as Google and MSN. But the explosion of user-created content on sites such as YouTube and MySpace has made it even more difficult for original new programs to stand out on the Web.

"That's what I think we learned here," said the Yahoo spokesman. "With ['Adventures'] publishing schedule it was difficult for an audience to be engaged on an ongoing basis." The average time spent per visitor on the site was also only about three minutes, according to comScore Media Metrix.

Bangs has previously worked with MSNBC and MSN, creating similar material for about nine years prior to joining Yahoo. He has also published countless magazine pieces, 14 books, and several documentaries--and co-directed the IMAX film "Mystery of the Nile."

For his Yahoo show, Bangs had most recently mounted an expedition to Bosnia. The Yahoo spokesman said that while the company would necessarily seek to replace "Adventures" with another show, its cancellation would free up staff to work on existing and future projects.

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