Yahoo Celebrates One Year of The 9

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New York -- Yahoo Originals showcased at the Soho House here Wednesday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its online pop-culture-news show, The 9.

Show producers and talent bookers joined show host Maria Sansone to review the past year’s highlights, which included an array of celebrity interviews and on-location coverage of high-profile events such as the Super Bowl.

“What it demonstrates is the success of an online program that has grown, and consistently grows, and has been great for brand awareness,” Yahoo Originals general manager Drew Buckley said in a phone interview.

He added that The 9 was doing extremely well -- averaging 3.5 million-4 million users per month over its first year, with a 60-40 split of males to females in the 18-34 demographic.

Yahoo’s sole partner for the show is Pepsi, which receives sidebar banners and links to Pepsi content on the channel’s Web site.

“It doesn’t feel like [the ads] inhibit any part of the program,” Buckley said.” It doesn’t start with a commercial pre-roll -- it starts right into the program. And we have integrated some elements of Pepsi where users are able to call out the Pepsi tent.”

Hosted by Maria Sansone, The 9 is a strictly Web-streamed television show, offering Hollywood and celebrity news in the form of short interviews, viral videos, spoofs, games and contests, as well as reviews of, and links to, the best pop-culture sites of the day. Guests have included everyone from Carmen Electra and Jimmy Fallon to Ashley Judd and Terrell Owens.

“When Ricky Gervais was going to The Today Show and promoting his show, Extras, The 9 became a staple in the promotional tour,” Buckley said. “They come through and do The 9 as they’re on the way to promote their television show or movie or book.”

To that end, the site includes links along with each celebrity interview to companies such as Amazon.com so that viewers can immediately find their products.

The 9 is written and produced daily from New York and, in the past year, Sansone has gone on location to cover the Super Bowl in Miami, the Academy Awards in Hollywood, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the Spider-Man 3 premiere in Tokyo.

This summer, the show will air from a different New York location every week and, toward the end of summer, from a beach house in Malibu, Calif.; from Comicon in San Diego; and from the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas.

As for bringing the show to other platforms, producer Michael Davies said at the showcase that Yahoo Originals is considering the possibility of traditional television and it has spoken with various cable operators, although he would not say which ones.

Mobile is another option. “We’re definitely in some talks with our Connected Life Group, which is an internal group here that has a lot of relationships with the mobile carriers,” Buckley said. “What we wanted to do was just build the success around the show on the Internet the first year, and year two, we’re looking at a lot of very interesting platforms.”

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