Yahoo! Canada Screen looks to expand Canuck partnerships

Head of media network Dan Unger tells Playback that the company is looking to acquire and create original content that's "localized for the Canadian experience."
Copied from Media in Canada - YahooScreen

Yahoo! Canada Screen launched earlier this week with a slate of Canadian content partners, including CBC, the Canadian Press and ET Canada already lined up.

But according to Yahoo! Canada’s head of media network, Dan Unger, the company is still looking to for new content from Canadian producers.

“We’re absolutely looking to expand our partnerships. The key to having a successful site, especially in video, is having as much robust content as possible,” he tells Playback.

“We’re working with producers in areas around Canada to figure out what content is going to resonate well with our audience, and what we think is really going to work in terms of driving increased usage and playback,” he adds.

The key to this, he says, is acquiring and creating original, high-quality content that’s “localized for the Canadian experience.”

According to Unger, entertainment programs, such as Omg! NOW and Primetime in No Time, and comedies, such as Burning Love have proven to be bankable formats so far.

And the digital platform’s line-up also includes lifestyle programming, including Mansome from Supersize Me director Morgan Spurlock, as well as properties in other genres.

Most important, says Unger, is that the content is high-quality.

“It’s telling that good story and making sure that whatever it is and whatever genre we go after that the content does tell some story that’s going to resonate with our audiences,” he explains.

He adds that the internet is the perfect platform to experiment with content, because of the freedom and lower production costs.

“When you’re pitching a show for broadcast, the networks are typically making a large financial commitment and they want to make sure it’s going to work. So they tend to be little bit more risk averse,” he says.

“Online is a much more cost-effective opportunity to try new things,” he adds.

While feature-length projects aren’t currently in the line-up or on the production slate, Unger says that could be a direction to move in once viewers become more accustomed to watching longer videos online.

He points to the examples of the Hamilton-shot property Cybergeddon, a feature-length project that has been cut down into segments for Yahoo! Canada Screen, as well as Burning Love, which has episodes that are seven to nine minutes long – a departure from Yahoo’s usually 3- to five-minute videos.

The Yahoo! team will be responsible for the programming of the content that appears on its site.

Most original content, including Burning Love and Mansome is exclusive to Yahoo! Screen Canada, says Unger, but some acquired content, such as programming from the Canadian Press, is free to be licensed out to other networks.