I think the execution is pretty disappointing. Yahoo has chosen not to actually host and play the videos on their site. Rather, when a visitor clicks on a video to play it, Yahoo launches a pop-up from the original site where the video is located. This provides a bad user experience and is inconsistent with the competitive set.
Just as depressing is the fact that most of the videos you see on the Yahoo Video site are from other video sites, like iFilm, Grouper, Break and others. What's great about YouTube and similar video sharing sites is that they host the videos. Which means they get more consumer generated content.
I'm not even going to get into the other issues Yahoo Video has, like not providing an easy way to link to individual videos, and the lack of a "put this on your site" feature.
Yahoo Video simply isn't a competitive product. It's far from it. Why don't they just buy YouTube already?
Update: There are a couple key updates to talk about as I've dug more into this new service.
1.) So apparently, Yahoo is allowing users to submit their own videos. I'm in the process of uploading one to see if it will play directly on the Yahoo Video site, and if maybe the user experience is different for these videos... I'll let you know as soon as my video is done "processing", whatever that means. YouTube is certainly quicker at getting these uploaded videos functioning right away. I wonder if Yahoo has some type of editorial approval or something.
2.) The pop-ups to play video have gotten even worse. It appears that a ton of the videos on the site are being scraped from the web. Maybe an extension to their video service. I did a search for "webcam", and of the videos I tried to "play", they prompted me to actually download the file rather than play in a pop-up... Yikes. Horribly inconsistent user experience.