Over the past few months, Yahoo has been rebranding themselves to not just be that old search engine of yesterday, but a relevant modern hub of information and entertainment. One of the new additions under the Yahoo brand is a video streaming service called Screen. Much like Hulu, you can stream clips for free from TV Shows like Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central shows, but where Yahoo Screen is different is it also has shows from other internet based networks like Revision3.
When you first get to Yahoo Screen, you get a playlist of the most popular videos playing on the site, as well as the more popular playlist categories of video as you scroll down. Everything on the site feels like you’re just going through different informal playlists, not so much that you’re going through different shows. There’s no show branding, which to some people is a good thing. It means you don’t get any network graphic clutter distracting you from the video. But where that gets bad is there’s no way to find out more about a show. You just get a description of what you’re watching with no extra information. For example, on a Saturday Night Live clip, you just get a title and description of what you’re watching. Nothing about who’s in the sketch, nothing about the date it was on TV, and no link to go find out more information about the sketch. Until you mouse over the link to the video, you do get a pop-up window that does include how long it is and the date it was on TV, but you don’t get that on the video page itself. This also gets annoying with Revision3 videos. Without a link to the Revision3 site, you can’t find out more about the web show. But if you can get past all that, Yahoo Screen is like television, where you get a lot of choices all in one place without any need to go anywhere else. If you sign in with your Yahoo account, you can follow “channels”, which are the playlists of video to choose from, so you can always find your favorites with their latest videos.
One big con with Yahoo Screen is that Google doesn’t treat the site as a video site. For example, when I would try to search in Google for a Saturday Night Live clip I wanted to watch, it just shows up as a link, where the other video sites include a thumbnail with a play button. That seems like a minor drawback, but it’s easy to look past the first result, which is Yahoo Screen, because it’s just a regular link. I didn’t even know Yahoo Screen was a video streaming site until I clicked on the link accidentally. That means a lot of people also don’t know Yahoo Screen is a video streaming site. Yahoo needs to work on promoting the site more and getting Google to recognize they’re a video site, otherwise a lot of people will simply overlook the site.
Other than that, Yahoo Screen works very well, and although I would like to see a button to make the video player bigger inside the site, the minimalistic design keeps me playing through the videos. As long as Yahoo keeps making quality sites that just do what they’re supposed to without problems, I think Yahoo could become relevant once again.