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Jan. 5, 2016 — When a network anchor and an $11 billion entity aren’t enough

Last week, Yahoo! shut down its video portal, Yahoo Screen.

Screen was supposed to have been an all-purpose, one-stop site for not only content that Yahoo! licensed, but for original content (such as the comedy Other Space), news as anchored by Katie Couric, and even a National Football League game from London.

And yet, despite all of that content and the vast sums of money spent, Yahoo! has ended Screen and cast its video content to the four winds within its domain, making the individual parts exceedingly difficult to find.

Of course, if you hadn’t ever heard of Yahoo! Screen before today, you’re probably not alone. Many brands of video streaming technologies such as Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix have crowded out Screen from the marketplace.

Which, in this 2,500-channel universe, is actually pretty hard to do.

That’s because most people who cut the cord from their cable TV providers simply run a cord from their computer or tablet into the HDMI jack in the back of their plasma TV, and simply pick and choose which videos or video streams to watch using a Web browser. They know what they want to watch even before turning the TV on, and don’t need to browse through lists and decision trees proffered by a service.

Which brings us to the experiment that the National Football League tried this year, offering one of the early London kickoff games solely to Yahoo! Sports. Most of the people who were logged in as “unique” viewers to the game didn’t come to the broadcast through Screen. Instead, they were shown video of the game in progress even if they were looking for Yahoo’s front page that morning.

We may never know whether Yahoo! or another Internet broadcast entity will have another NFL game broadcast online, but I’m sure the league is taking a careful look at the metrics of what happened last year and whether they had anything to do with the shutdown of Screen.

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