Yahoo, ABC News Pair Up on Content and Sales

Yahoo and ABC News will share content and ad sales resources as part of a new partnership announced this morning. The relationship will include a prominent integration of ABC News across Yahoo’s properties, including the launch of Good Morning America on a Yahoo domain at GMA.yahoo.com.

ABC News will lead the sales integration during the television upfront selling period, and Yahoo will oversee sales during the rest of the year. Ad sales will focus on premium video placements, including for a series of exclusive ABC “Newsmakers” shows that will roll out this year and next. Personalities slated for that series include Christiane Amanpour, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and Barbara Walters.

To kick off the partnership, Yahoo and ABC News are playing up George Stephanopoulos’s live interview with President Barack Obama that will debut at 2:35pm this afternoon on Yahoo.com and ABCNews.com before its TV broadcast.

levinsohn-abcnews-talentAt a press conference in New York this morning, top broadcast talent from ABC News showed up to hail the partnership – and in particular the original Yahoo-only programming to which they’ll contribute. That programming will consist of longer versions of edited broadcast interviews.

Katie Couric told the assembled news media, “It creates incredible opportunities to do expanded interviews [and] to dig a little deeper where you have the luxury of time.”

The alliance does not come out of the blue however. Since early this year, Yahoo has integrated ABC News around major media events, including the British Royal Wedding and the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s EVP of Americas, emphasized the scale of the partnership goes well beyond what Yahoo would ordinarily publish through a traditional licensing arrangement.

“This is taking it to the next level,” Levionsohn said. With regard to political news in particular, he suggested Yahoo users will notice a big increase in coverage of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

In the below video, Levinsohn and ABC News boss Ben Sherwood discuss the germination of the companies’ premium video plans.

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