Disney Media Networks and YouTube have announced an agreement to launch multiple ad-supported channels featuring short-form content from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney Media Networks will have the option to sell its own advertising inventory within the Disney/ABC and ESPN channels. Channel roll out is scheduled to begin in mid-April for ESPN and early May for the Disney/ABC Television Group channels, which will include ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet.
Previews of what will be available can be viewed at www.youtube.com/abc and www.youtube.com/espn.
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.
“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.
“Reaching and engaging fans is paramount in all that we do as a company, and YouTube is a great platform to achieve that goal,” said George Bodenheimer, co-chair, Disney Media networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports. “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.”
According to the New York Times, Disney is also in talks to take a stake in YouTube rival Hulu, whose Hulu.com Web TV destination is jointly owned by NBC Universal and News Corp.