By Sahil Patel
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer took the stage in Las Vegas this afternoon to give a speech on the state of Yahoo. The presentation covered many things, including Yahoo’s acquisition of “intelligent homescreen” startup Aviate and its launch of Yahoo News Digest and Digital Magazines.
On the video front, though, there were few highlights with not much in the way of new information. Though if you’re interested, Mayer highlighted Yahoo’s two biggest content deals to date by bringing Katie Couric and “Saturday Night Live” cast members Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson on to the stage.
Couric said that she’s excited to start at Yahoo with a blank slate, hinting at the freedom and control she will have over the type of content she produces for Yahoo. Specifically, though, Couric confirmed again that part of her role as global anchor for Yahoo will include interviewing the personalities that she finds interesting, from politicians and newsmakers to sports figures and tech leaders.
Couric said she was most impressed by Yahoo’s global reach, especially in the face of an increasingly fragmented media landscape.
Strong and Thompson, meanwhile, came on stage to do a CES-centric version of “Weekend Update,” which was hit-or-miss, though Thompson’s bit as Al Sharpton hit well with the crowd (it was quite funny).
Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s SVP of mobile and emerging products, also came on stage to discuss improvements to Yahoo’s connected TV software, Yahoo TV. The platform, which Cahan said reaches “millions” of users via partnerships with hardware giants like Samsung and Vizio, now features a Smart Guide, which surfaces content recommendations across live TV, on demand, and online video.
Among the other notable highlights, Mayer said that Yahoo Screen now offers more than 80 original video programs, and more than 400 episodes of content per month. She also said to expect more content deals to be announced in the future (which we’ve written about!), as Yahoo continues to bet on video.