by Josie Kafka
Yahoo Screen—a streaming service none of us knew existed—has rescued Community from an early grave and promised to give us a 13-episode sixth season. And maybe a movie.
Yahoo’s decision came at the eleventh hour, after talks with Hulu broke down. Hulu, after all, is doing quite well already: Yahoo Screen had zero buzz until this weekend. As Business Week explains, “[I]t’s hard to win attention with reruns, and creating new shows can be a fraught path, particularly for a media company…that has no record of success in scripted programming. It’s a classic build-it-or-buy-it conundrum, only in this case the ‘it’ is a TV show...The return on investment should be easy for Yahoo to model: Take the loyal audience, assume three out of four will find the new episodes online, and Yahoo arrives at a decent worst-case scenario.”
The pragmatism of Yahoo’s purchase warms my heart: Yahoo wants an audience. Community has an audience. Ergo (I hope!), Yahoo will let Community be Community. Content is irrelevant as long as some of the broadcast audience searches for the show. And it looks to me like Yahoo Screen is free.