Yahoo wants to make it dead simple to find and launch videos across services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. Yahoo Video Guide searches the streaming options you subscribe to, as well as cable TV networks like HBO and AMC. The new app released today on Android and iOS, serving U.S. customers searching across 30 streaming and TV options.
To browse videos on Yahoo Video Guide, there are three categories: Featured, Movies and Shows. In each section, the app suggests titles by genre and popularity, but only filters content available on the services you’ve indicated you want to browse. There’s even a Mood Picker; just choose how you're feeling, illustrated only by a GIF, and the app will show you only those titles.
To find specific content, the search and launch functions work well, utilizing deep-linking inside streaming apps. After you find the title you’re looking for, the app will launch the video directly if you have the relevant app installed. For instance, if you find the movie Wild listed in Yahoo's app, it will launch the video on HBO Go. If the app isn’t installed, or the video isn’t available on any app, then the user is taken to the web link where the video can be played.
Yahoo does have some healthy competition in this market. Earlier this year, JustWatch launched its own service for finding video across streaming outlets. Although cable TV networks aren't searchable in its mobile apps, JustWatch can be accessed on its website and is available outside the U.S., options Yahoo doesn't currently offer.
With this video discovery tool, Yahoo has engineered its role as a neutral party, since the company lacks a major subscription video business itself. But judging from past forays into producing original content like the TV show Community and streaming American football games, Yahoo's strategy here might be to become the central hub for mobile video discovery, eventually placing its own content in front of a captive audience.