Disney/ABC, ESPN Reach Short-Form Content Pact With YouTube
Ad-Supported ESPN Channel To Bow In Mid-April; ABC Family, SoapNet In Early May
Disney Media Networks and YouTube have inked an agreement under which ESPN and other services will launch their own ad-supported channels.
The agreement, financial details of which were not disclosed, calls for ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group services to supply their YouTube channels with short-form fare and hold the option to sell their own inventory within those vehicles.
The ESPN channel is scheduled to roll out in mid-April, with the other channels, including ABC Family, SoapNet, ABC Entertainment and ABC News to debut in early May.
As part of the agreement, the ESPN Video Player will be integrated into ESPN's channel on YouTube and will anchor a wide variety of exciting sports content and highlights on YouTube. ESPN will also make additional short-form content available through YouTube's player. ESPN content that is available on the ESPN channel and player will not contain long-form content from its linear networks.
The Disney YouTube channels, available to U.S. users, will be supported at launch by advertising like YouTube's InVideo overlays, and traditional display ads. However, as part of the pact, Disney/ABC and ESPN will also be able to test pre-roll advertising on short-form content. YouTube, despite being the dominant video aggregator, has had difficulty monetizing that content.
"This deal provides us with the opportunity to reach a broader online audience, to experiment with different monetization models and to extend the reach of our advertisers within branded environments that they most desire," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, in a statement. "We look forward to working together with YouTube to reach their vast community with our incredible portfolio of high-quality, short-form content to better serve consumers and advertisers."
Added George Bodenheimer, co-chair, Disney Media networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports: "Reaching and engaging fans is paramount in all that we do as a company, and YouTube is a great platform to achieve that goal," Making our content available to fans via YouTube presents an extraordinary opportunity for ESPN to create new revenue streams and new value to advertisers, as they continue to look for new ways to connect with fans in the digital environment."
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