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Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), Google Inc (GOOG): Is This Silicon Valley Star Ready for Its Closeup?

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Over the last few months Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has been buying up content and creating original content to improve the user experience. It’s not too early to think about the Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) network.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)Hooray for Hollywood!

In the last year mostly since the arrival of CEO Marissa Mayer, the company has doubled its original video content and increased its library of content with purchases of the rights to the entire Saturday Night Live archives, all 38 years from Two Wild and Crazy Guys to Stephon, and other content.

On April 29 the company announced a new lineup of original programming including: “Tiny Commando,” starring Ed Helms of “The Office” in which tiny P.I. fights crime (think Honey I Shrunk the Kids as a crime caper), “Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos,” a misleading title if I ever heard one; it turns out Stamos interviews celebrities about their first time; and “We Need Help,” two Hollywood powerbrokers abuse their shared male P.A. (think the Devil Wears Prada goes to Hollywood).

These shows are in addition to “The Fuzz” and “Ghost Girlz” (sic) all of which will be available to view on a binge (multiple episodes available at one time).

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has inked an agreement with World Wide Wrestling to feature exclusive video and content for them. In a more serious vein, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) has also signed with ABC News and CNBC for exclusive content.

Of course, they had to have some lifestyle shows: Fashion Rescue, how to wear one article of clothing, Grill Girls, women take over the grill on a food lifestyle show, and Cinema & Spice, reminiscent of “Dinner and a Movie”.

Derivative? Maybe, but this is a promising direction for Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). It will be competing against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) with their own major moves into original programming.

Content’s not everything

All this is on top of the acquisition of Summly, the news summary app, and Flickr, the photosharing app. Mayer has kept the momentum going with an attempt to acquire a majority stake in Dailymotion, the French version of YouTube. Unfortunately, Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) was roundly rebuffed by the French government, not even an, “Ah, tres desolee.”

Mayer also announced a change to the maternity and paternity leave policies doubling it to 16 weeks for mothers and eight weeks for dads. This seems like an effort to pour oil on the waters after Mayer’s “Get Back to Work, You!” (thank you, Montgomery Burns and Matt Groening) edict calling all work-at-home employees back to the office received bad press indeed.

Pundits opined Mayer went too far and the fiat was strategically misguided. Aside from this showbiz initiative Yahoo! is still a tech company competing for topnotch techies against the behemoth, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). As well as competing against them on search and display ads, their bread and butter.

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