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NewFronts 2015: Yahoo Announces 18 New Series

Unfurling a purple carpet at the hallowed classical-music haven, Avery Fisher Hall, Yahoo brought a high-octane offering of 18 new series to NewFronts buyers Monday.

"Over the last year, we’ve made strategic investments in our three digital content pillars, Yahoo Live, Yahoo Digital Magazines and Yahoo Originals,” Kathy Savitt, CMO and head of media at Yahoo, told the crowd. “We’re pleased to be extending those investments into premium video content offerings to guide our users to the best, most relevant content and the world’s best storytellers to our global audience.”

New shows include Ultimate DJ, a global electronic music competition live series exec produced by Simon Cowell, Patrick Moxey, Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart and Kelly Belldegrun; a reupped teaming with Live Nation to live stream concerts with the addition of festivals; The Pursuit, a new scripted original longform comedy series from Scott Stuber and Beth McCarthy Miller; and several new titles from Yahoo’s Digital Magazines, including I Am Naomi, starring executive producer Naomi Campbell, and Riding Shotgun with Michelle Rodriguez, with Rodriguez (Furious 7) exec producing.

Katie Couric drew a warm cheer and took the stage to announce an expansion of her presence on Yahoo, which has drawn 125 million streams since she came aboard a little over a year ago. 

Yahoo News Live, a new panel show led by Couric, will enable viewers to "get a better handle on stories that are coming at them in a continuous stream," she said. The chat sessions on issues of the day will stream live and also be available on demand.

Live programming was a recurring theme of the presentation. Several major music festivals, including Electric Daisy Festival Las Vegas, are coming to the platform. In the fall, a virtual watercooler called 
Superfan Live will launch, aimed at the most avid of pop culture consumers looking to connect with other TV and movie superfans.

As on linear TV, live programming is seen as more desirable for advertisers. Since Yahoo began its live initiative in earnest a year ago, it has given brands a 50% lift, according to Yahoo research.

EDM DJ Steve Aoki kicked off the event with a booming set that tested the already-vulnerable acoustics of Avery Fisher. Joel McHale, whose show Community made the leap from NBC to Yahoo earlier this year, emceed the proceedings.