NBC’s TV show 'Community' was a cult favorite, but largely a ratings loser for the network, meaning it often seemed to be on the brink of being canceled.
“Literally, last year we produced 86 series, none of whom you’ve ever heard about because it was sort of a failed branding exercise,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer admitted at TechCrunch’s Disrupt New York event in May.
Mayer hopes that original content, along with the company’s more established search and email services, will help make the site part of consumers’ daily online routines, which would then boost advertising.
In order to draw people to the site, Yahoo needs strong, unique content – different from what Netflix or Hulu is offering, says Sam Craig, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
“It’s a crowded marketplace out there and unless you have something with an identity, people aren’t going to come to it,” he explains.
"Community" offers a dedicated audience, which – while small by broadcast standards – is passionate about the show and loyal to it, says Max Dawson with the media consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates.
Another plus – the wealth of the show's existing viewers. 'Community' has very strong support among households making over $150,000.
“It beats out things like The Voice. It beats out mega-ratings success stories, [like] Big Bang Theory, in attracting those rich viewers,” says Dawson. “Thpse are viewers who are the most difficult to attract and the most appealing for sponsors.”
One network’s trash could be a tech company’s treasure.