Yahoo’s Comedy Slate Goes Old School with SNL Library

/ Apr 25, 2013


Yahoo acquired the exclusive rights to clips of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” late last night in what appears to be a major digital video industry upset.

SNL clips are currently hosted on Hulu, which wasn’t ever seen as a direct competitor of Yahoo until, well, last night. Under this new deal, Hulu will only house the current season of SNL and all old clips will be moved over to a digital library owned by Yahoo. Yahoo will also non-exclusively offer current season episodes of full SNL episodes, and will work with SNL chief Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment to build a “digital hub” for the SNL content. The archival content will be made available on Yahoo beginning September 1, 2013.

The New York Times reports the SNL library “ cost upward of $10 million a year in the past” but neither Yahoo or Broadway Video responded to inquiries.

Marissa Mayer describes herself  “as a lifelong ‘Saturday Night Live’ fan,” in a blog post about the deal made with Broadway Video and NBC Entertainment. “The partnership gives Yahoo! users exclusive access to the entire 38-year archive of SNL content as well as clips from the current season,” she writes. “Saturday Night Live has pervaded and defined our culture for decades.”

And now, has the chance to go global.

Under Hulu’s current licenses, SNL clips were not available outside North America, but Ars Technica reports “Broadway Video explicitly stated that the Yahoo deal will remove that restriction.” The deal gives Yahoo distribution rights for SNL library content outside of the US, though not on an exclusive basis.

SNL makes an impressive addition to Yahoo’s digital library, which also includes the critically acclaimed comedy “Burning Love.” The deal is only for one year, though. That might change in a year’s time, but until then, it’ll be interesting to see what Yahoo does with the SNL content hub. Specifically, if it’ll use the name recognition of the SNL brand to promote its own original comedy slate on its video platform, Yahoo Screen.

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