Yahoo! Offices in Bangalore

Let’s Bet On Yahoo’s Next Move

The Next Web compiled this handy list of Yahoo’s 2013 acquisitions, and here’s what I think is going to happen next for Yahoo:

They’re going to become the next best thing in digital, gamified storytelling.

Think full, custom, user-driven content delivered and syndicated in a dumbed-down (traditional one-way streaming content) form straight to places like iTunes and Netflix and Amazon Prime and Xfinity OnDemand – or maybe even their own app-based platform which would allow for more dynamic experience.

My guess is the content will be fully searchable by actor, quotes, a specific scene, interactive in terms of storytelling taking place on multiple devices – a side scene or magazine or ebook only available on your tablet, a dynamically generated phone call or text message to a viewer’s smartphone from a main character, a Kinect-style sensor for interacting with characters or objects on screen or Oculus-rift-style headset allowing you to examine a scene more thoroughly.

Imagine, as a content producer bored with YouTube’s toolkit, being able to have a Yahoo-based toolkit that would truly allow you to interact in ways you’ve never even dreamed about. A medium that would be Tumblr-simple in creating interactive stories with video, audio, and smartphone integration that puts your viewers right in the middle of the action.

That’s where I think Yahoo! is going. Everything they’re buying up (even the purchases just for talent acquisition) has been pointing to building their platform for highly-visual storytelling (mostly photo, but there are a fair number of streaming and interactivity acquires there, too).

So what’s missing? Hardware – notably. Amazon built their own streaming digital TV device to contend with the AppleTV. Yahoo has neither the infrastructure nor ability (and would be bone stupid to try) to build their own hardware for interactive streaming. I’d rather see them use existing networks to distribute and program for (Oculus rift, Kinect, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime).

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