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Yahoo! and Tom Hanks Launch New Online Series

Futuristic web movie features Oakland actor

By Scott Budman
|  Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012  |  Updated 10:53 AM PDT
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Yahoo! and Tom Hanks Launch New Online Series

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Hanks online.

It's not enough that Yahoo! drops the biggest CEO hire news in years. It also has a new web show!

OK, admittedly, one pales in light of the other, but it may give us a sneak peek into the company's future.  With cable networks and Netflix working hard to send us original content streamed over the internet, Yahoo!'s entry deserves a look as well.

Tom Hanks, a Bay Area product himself (and, like the author of this article, a product of Oakland's Skyline High School), leads an impressive cast of voice-over actors in this futuristic animated show.  It looks and sounds cool, and is bringing lots of people to YouTube as we speak. The first hour, consisting of 10 episodes, is online today at Yahoo's video site, Yahoo! Screen.

(Side note: This seems to be Yahoo!'s week to share the spotlight with Google in everything it does. The Sunnyvale company hired Marissa Mayer away from Google to lead Yahoo!)

Back to the show, called "Electric City"  - if this does get big numbers, look for more to follow.  It's interesting that YouTube has been talking about using original programming to bring eyeballs to Google ads. Can Yahoo! crank out product that brings ad dollars into its own business?

We're all used to watching shows online these days.  With big-name talent like Hanks onboard, more of us are likely to tune in, advertisers will jump on, and this could be the next wave in entertainment.

If Yahoo!'s new CEO approves.

Scott, in Tom Hanks’ shadow, is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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