Braun: Yahoo! Backing Off Original Content, Embracing Services

Remember the buzz around Yahoo!’s executive team of Hollywood all-stars? Well goodbye to all that.

In an interview with the Times, Lloyd Braun says he was all wrong about online video and is actually much more interested in partner- and user-generated pages than in doing TV-style shows.

Here’s money quote #1: “I didn’t fully appreciate what success in this medium is really going to look like. This is not about creating one-off hits like in my old business. That is not going to create a sustainable competitive advantage over the long term.”

Here’s money quote #2: “I now get excited about user-generated content the way I used to get excited about thinking about what television shows would work.”

This is stunning, and a total about face for a company that less than a year ago was the most aggressive originator of sophisticated video content online. Here’s the new scenario, apparently: The reigning champion (among portals anyway) of original Web video turns out to be longtime pariah AOL(!), while Yahoo! treads firmly down the services-and-partners path already embraced by Microsoft and Google.

Braun also took advantage of his interview with Saul Hansell to dispel widespread rumors that he’ll soon leave the portal over differences with CEO Terry Semel.

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