Toyota Sponsors Yahoo’s ‘Who Knew?’

Yahoo News has partnered with the production firm Reveille and embattled automaker Toyota to launch a new daily Web series — Who Knew? — that will expound on the site’s most popular news story of a given day.

Who Knew? is aimed at providing a mainstream Web audience with snack-sized features on lesser known aspects of whatever topics are making news at that moment (Yahoo officials claimed that Yahoo News reaches 21 percent of the online audience). For example, today the show examined the Shroud of Turin, which was recently displayed in Italy for the first time in 10 years. Each episode runs 90 seconds.

Toyota is using Who Knew? to promote the Toyota Avalon. Besides running a “brought to you by” message prior to each episode along with an adjacent banner, Toyota will receive a branding element within the show, including a sponsored “Comforting Fact” that will appear within the show each week.

Who Knew? is the latest example of a Yahoo’s ongoing expansion into original, branded entertainment content following several high-profile busts in the mid-2000s. The Web giant has achieved success with short-form, mass appeal shows such as Prime Time in No Time, which recaps the best of TV, and Yahoo Shine’s fashion-themed The Thread.

Reveille is no stranger to original Web video. Besides Who Knew? The production firm has produced several series with Yahoo’s rival MSN. Officials said that several other Yahoo-Reveille projects are in the works.