Yahoo Partners with ‘Access Hollywood’

Jun 9, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Yahoo, trying to capitalize on its users’ hunger for dirt on Britney, Lindsay and Paris, is teaming with “Access Hollywood” to create a celebrity news Web destination.
The NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution newsmagazine will supply exclusive entertainment stories for Yahoo’s new omg! site. The companies are gunning for the kinds of fans who propel video-paparazzi site TMZ.com, which is allied with Yahoo rival AOL.com.
The omg! Web destination launches June 11, marking Yahoo’s latest attempt to bridge the colliding worlds of television and Web video. Yahoo, which runs behind Google as an Internet search engine, has cycled through several video-entertainment strategies.
Now Yahoo is betting the public’s appetite for celebrity news will complement its other TV content.
Omg! will feature celebrity news, videos and photos, with around-the-clock updates. “Access Hollywood” will serve as omg!’s primary content partner, providing the Web site with at least five original stories and videos every day. In addition, AccessHollywood.com will be providing omg! with regular online exclusives, including first looks at some of the show’s biggest interviews.
“When you look at the massive demand on the Yahoo Network for this type of content, celebrities continue to rank at the top — in fact, Britney has been the top search item five years running,” said Karin Gilford, general manager of Yahoo Entertainment. “We thought that ‘Access Hollywood’ provided a fantastic brand match.”
“Access Hollywood,” meanwhile, will be undergoing its own transformation, slating a relaunch of the show’s Web site, AccessHollywood.com, for this fall. NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution executives also will make a push at this week’s Promax conference in New York, where TV marketers are gathering, to enhance station affiliates’ Web sites by providing them with content.
The deal with Yahoo, which runs the most-visited group of Web sites on the Internet, however, perhaps carries greater potential to increase exposure for “Access Hollywood.”
“‘Access’ is a part of omg!, which gives the show the ability to reach a whole new audience,” said David Blair Epstein, vice president of digital strategy for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “By working with Yahoo we could reach millions and millions of viewers and readers that have never even watched the broadcast show.”
The competition among celebrity tracking sites on the Web has exploded, drawing everything from corporate-backed efforts such as omg! and TMZ.com to do-it-yourself ventures including PerezHilton.com. TMZ.com, backed by Time Warner units AOL and Telepictures, has surged to prominence, most recently scoring scoops on Paris Hilton going to jail and being released.
AccessHollywood.com‘s October relaunch will include a push toward social networking and more interactivity. The relaunch will also include a more user-friendly design, much faster load time and several new sponsor opportunities.
“While we’ve seen incredible growth of our Web site over the last year, our partnership with Yahoo will bring it to a whole other level,” said Rob Silverstein, executive producer of “Access Hollywood.”

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