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Yahoo is set to launch a new video Web site in a bid to cash in on the popularity of viral video, which has pushed YouTube front and center.
“Our goal is to be the starting place for finding video on the Web,” said Jason Zajac, general manager of social media at Yahoo. The new site is scheduled to go live at 9 p.m. PT Wednesday at video.yahoo.com.
The redesigned Yahoo Video page will include a search box at the top and editorially chosen feature videos that are topical, interesting or popular among viewers. Users can also browse for video by categories or user-generated tags.
The search results page offers more detail on the video content, including source and length, as well as a breakdown of video that either fits in predetermined channels created by Yahoo or by people who have uploaded content, based on a single source or by topic. Viewers will be able to read ratings and reviews and forward content and links to friends via Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Messenger.
If the video is hosted on an outside site, such as YouTube, clicking the “play” button takes the viewer to the other site. Yahoo-hosted video allows people to watch the video directly on the site through an embedded video player.
Users can also paste the video into their own blogs and other Web sites, as well as create pages of their favorite videos and make those available as public play lists, Zajac said.
The new Yahoo Studio allows people to upload their own video, create a profile, and keep track of how many people watched the video and what the ratings are. People who upload video own the content but give Yahoo the rights to play and display it on Yahoo and partner sites, he said.
Some Yahoo video pages will have banner ads, and eventually the site will display video ads. “As we go forward, Yahoo as all the systems, technology and sales people in place to run video ads as well,” Zajac said.
The site competes with YouTube, AOL, Microsoft, Blinkx and Google Video, which provides access only to video that Google hosts and not from across the Web.