There can be no doubt that the future of television is in streaming content. With the rise of Netflix and Hulu, companies everywhere are looking to grab a piece of the streaming pie. As the years progress, more and more services are popping up, making for some stiff competition for viewing audiences as choices become more and more varied.
Of course, the nature of competition means that eventually someone loses. While Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO all made significant headway last year, Yahoo Screen, the upstart subsidiary of the formerly ubiquitous search engine, suffered significant losses in 2015 despite being the new home of the cult comedy Community from Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon. Their foray into the streaming world resulted in a loss of $42 million, forcing the company to rethink their streaming service.
Now, after several months of strategizing, Yahoo officially announced today that it was shuttering its streaming service for good, according to The Wrap. It shouldn’t come as any big surprise, given the failure of the service to make any sort of splash with viewing audiences, even despite their Community coup. While no new programming will ever come to fruition, a Yahoo spokesperson did tell The Wrap that previously made content would still be available.
"At Yahoo, we’re constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience. With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place."
This, of course, spells the likely end of Community, which, despite a tumultuous run, was able to fulfill the six seasons portion of the "six seasons and a movie" line that was so popular amongst its fan base. What will happen to the show now remains to be seen. Back in October, Dan Harmon told THR that the future of Community looked "bleak" following the exit of Yahoo chief marketing office Kathy Savitt. So, it seems that even without today's shuttering of Yahoo Screen, season 6 was probably the last school term for the gang at Greendale Community College.
Community may have been the most recognizable title in Yahoo Screen's library, but it certainly isn't the only series whose future is now in question. Original series Sin City Saints and Other Space (from Ghostbusters director Paul Feig) are also left in the lurch after the announcement. Like Community, neither series was able to connect with audiences in a way that was profitable for the company, ultimately spelling the service’s doom.
Regardless of reason -- be it poor quality of content or general inaccessibility -- Yahoo Screen is no more. They’re the first major casualty of the streaming wars and will likely be studied as an example of how not to launch and maintain a new streaming service. Moreover, it’s proof of the old adage that hype does not necessarily translate into success. All the press in the world is meaningless if you can’t draw eyes and, at the end of the day, an audience of no one is never worth the effort.
Screen Rant will have more updates on the future of Community as news is made available.