Yahoo Videos Relaunches With New Features

Long overshadowed by YouTube, Yahoo Videos has been relaunched with new features including a larger media player aimed at encouraging greater engagement with the site.

In addition to the new wide-screen player, the revamped site now aggregates video from all different sections of Yahoo and upgrades tools for playing, sharing and organizing videos. Users, for example, can now upload bigger files--up to 150 megabytes--to post longer, higher-quality videos.

In addition to embedding individual videos in blogs or Web sites, users can also play VJ by adding entire playlists. Expanded profile pages on the site also allow people to add favorite videos and playlists, fans and contacts, and to exchange comments.

The relaunch follows Yahoo's $160 million acquisition last week of online video provider Maven Networks, but the changes do not yet reflect integration of Maven's technology or content. Through the deal, Yahoo plans to bolster its video technology and expand its video inventory for advertisers. Maven currently powers Web video for 30 large media clients including Fox News, Hearst and CBS Sports.

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The moves are also aimed at trying to gain ground on Web video king YouTube. Google sites--chiefly YouTube--claimed a 32.6% market share in online video compared to just 3.4% for Yahoo sites, as of December, according to comScore.

The Maven deal signals a focus on more advertiser-friendly professional video in contrast to the user-generated material featured on Yahoo Videos and YouTube. In announcing the acquisition, Yahoo pointed out that video is projected as the fastest-growing online advertising segment, expected to reach $4 billion by 2001.

Even so, it's not clear how the company would use Maven's assets to further build out Yahoo Videos, if at all. At present, the Web portal is probably more concerned with how to fend off Microsoft's unwanted takeover attempt than how to incorporate Maven.

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