Forget the Palme d'Or. The movie-festival prize to win this year will be the Yahoo Audience Award, given at Sundance to the short film voted fan favorite on Yahoo's video site.
In its latest big-media partnership, Yahoo is bringing the force of its network to bear on the Sundance Film Festival. Over the next month, several Yahoo sites will feature exclusive content from the festival, including Yahoo's own live coverage.
The centerpiece of the promotion is the short film collection that will appear on Yahoo Screen. Viewers will be able to view a selection of short films from the festival and vote on their favorite. The winner will receive the Yahoo Audience Award live at the Festival on January 28th.
Such partnerships are a key part of Yahoo's mission to offer more original video content. In October, Yahoo and ABC News forged a wide-ranging deal that included integrating ABC News content into several Yahoo properties. The next day, Yahoo unveiled a slew of original new Web series geared toward women.
In addition to the short film contest, Yahoo will send a reporter from one of its entertainment shows, Omg! NOW, to provide live and behind-the-scenes coverage of the festival. Yahoo's homepage will also carry ads for the festival and Yahoo's coverage of it, part of a widespread digital campaign across the company's network.
Yahoo built a similar promotion around the November premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. That partnership with Summit Entertainment, which produced the movie, included a live stream from the premier's red carpet that attracted more than 1 million visitors from 160 countries over two days, making it the largest simultaneous audience for a live movie premiere in Yahoo history, according to the company.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014