Yahoo is looking to cash in on online TV in a serious way, with insiders telling the Wall Street Journal that it's aiming to roll out four new half-hour comedy series. The series, whose budgets could run to several million dollars per episode, would consist of 10 episodes headed by TV-industry writers and directors. "They're looking at the same type of shows that Netflix and Amazon are eying," one source tells the Journal. "They want to blow it out big time," says another.
And CEO Marissa Mayer, who is gambling that Internet videos and their pricier ads can drive her company's turnaround, would like to have the shows ready to trumpet on April 28, when Yahoo makes presentations to advertisers. The company is also hoping to offer old episodes of Saturday Night Live and other shows. One problem with the planned new programming: Yahoo users tend to visit the site on PCs or mobile devices—not TVs, which are likely the best home for the new series.