By Sahil Patel
Yahoo’s interest in the TV business apparently goes beyond just making TV shows.
According to multiple reports, Yahoo was interested in buying Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns top lifestyle TV channels including Food Network, Travel Channel, and HGTV.
A Business Insider report, written by Nicholas Carlson, who has a book coming out about Marissa Mayer’s time as CEO of the digital-media giant, suggested that Yahoo had approached Scripps in 2014 to buy Food Network. The talks then extended to the entire Scripps portfolio.
Variety refutes those versions of events, instead reporting that Yahoo internally mulled over a potential deal for Scripps, but never actually approached the TV company about it.
Yahoo’s interest in a TV network makes sense: It would be a key asset in helping grow the company’s struggling ad business. As lukewarm as the cable upfront market was in 2014, TV is still big, and would open the door for Yahoo’s ad-sales teams to create and sell more profitable cross-platform ad packages.
Of course that’s not the only reason: Scripps’ audience overlaps quite nicely with Yahoo’s; Scripps has content that could easily be redistributed on any number of Yahoo sites; and Yahoo is producing a bunch of TV shows that it might not be able to sell, so a TV network could be a decent fail-safe if “Community” or “Other Space” doesn’t work online.
It’s unclear whether Yahoo is still interested in buying a TV network. The BI report also indicated interest in CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
A Yahoo spokesperson declined to comment.