Yahoo!, Current Pull Plug on Partnership
Al Gore's Current TV cable and Internet service and Yahoo!, the most-viewed Web portal, are preparing to announce that they are ending their partnership for delivering videos after less than three months.
Executives for Current and Yahoo! declined to say why they were suddenly shuttering their partnership, which put four channels of viewer-created videos on Yahoo.com under the rubric the Yahoo! Current Network. Four more channels were planned when the alliance was announced in September.
"Current and Yahoo! determined that our respective goals for the Yahoo! Current Network were diverging and have decided to pursue other opportunities independently,'' Current spokesman Alex Dolan said.
The two parties said they were preparing a statement on the state of the partnership after trade publication Variety Sunday evening reported the departure of David Katz, a top Yahoo! sports and programming executive, and said Yahoo! and Current had "abruptly ended their partnership."
When Yahoo! launched sports, car, travel and Web buzz channels Sept. 20 based on Current content, the parties talked as if they had grand ambitions for the partnership. "This will be the premium video offering" online, Current CEO Joel Hyatt said at the time. Madelein Smithberg, co-creator and former executive producer of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was to produce daily features for Yahoo! Current Buzz, for instance.
Roughly three weeks after the launch, Yahoo!'s fierce rival, Google, announced a plan to acquire YouTube for $1.65 billion. YouTube, at the time, was generating more than 100 million streams of video per day to computer users eager to see user-generated content.
A Current TV spokeswoman said, however, that there were no plans in the works to extend Current's relationship with Google. At the time Current announced its partnership with Yahoo!, it was producing daily features on the top search terms on Google and the stories behind them.
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