Streaming Guides

Yahoo Shuts Down Its Standalone Streaming Service

By  · Published on January 4th, 2016

Did you use Yahoo Screen?

It’s possible that you followed Community, which spent its latest (and likely final) season on the streaming service. You may have also used it intermittently to watch licensed clips from Saturday Night Live or the live broadcast of the Bills vs. Jaguars NFL game from London earlier in the season. Even more likely is that you logged on to Yahoo Screen, which was a free service, to watch Paul Feig’s odd Star Trek-like comedy Other Space, starring everyone who has been in an AT&T commercial in the past two years.

Based on today’s news that Yahoo is shutting down the service, it’s not likely that enough of us did all of these things, or any one of these things. In an announcement via Variety, Yahoo announced that it would be shuttering the service and moving some of its video content elsewhere within its ecosystem. That means things like live music via its Live Nation channel will be seen alongside its Yahoo Music service.

It also likely means that Yahoo is getting out of the original content business, a move that cost them a loss of $42 million last year. While this isn’t going to hurt any current shows, it likely means that both Community and Other Space are done.

Next: Why Netflix is So Far Ahead of the Streaming Competition

Yahoo Screen will now become an example of the fragility of streaming services, especially those that are offered for free or on an ad-supported basis. For Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Amazon Prime, large audiences mean a steady flow of revenue. For Yahoo, large audiences didn’t drive enough advertising revenue to remain profitable. Something that will continue to plague online services. In the death of Yahoo Screen, we see the continued death of the “free” Internet. Ad-supported services aren’t as viable as those that cost a few dollars per month.

What does this mean for the future of streaming services? Don’t be surprised if services continue to move away from the ad-supported model and keep their content behind subscription fees. And don’t be surprised if that trend continues to grow across the web, from streaming services to publications. Without revenue to pay for content, the things we love can’t survive.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)