NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo! (YHOO) recently saved the TV series Community from being cancelled and forgotten. Many fans were thankful that the Internet portal decided it wanted to break into the business of higher-quality content distribution.
Can opening a movie studio be far behind?
It won't be, if Yahoo! is smart. Reliance on advertising as a business model is certainly valuable, but it's easy to see how the company is just one more site that generates and collects articles and photos and videos, has an email client, provides a search engine, etc. It's just one more commodity searching for a way to differentiate itself in front of all the eyeballs out there.
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Making movies, telling compelling stories, distributing them beyond Yahoo! itself -- that's what will fully differentiate Yahoo! from its competition.
Amazon (AMZN) figured out that content can be king even for what is essentially a retail operation. Amazon also wanted to keep its disruptive reputation intact by opening Amazon Studios to the public. Got a screenplay or TV series script on your hard drive? Upload it to Amazon and see if the company wants to option it. (Full disclosure: I've uploaded a few pieces; I've still got my day job.)
Greenlighting movies is one thing; planning a release strategy is another thing entirely. While Yahoo! probably would want to show its content exclusively on the portal as a way of capturing revenue in its own ecosystem, distribution to theaters and other platforms is a must for true expansion of top-line opportunities.