Disney/ABC, ESPN Sign YouTube Deal

Disney Media Networks and YouTube have announced an agreement that includes the launch of 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 rollout 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 upon official launch 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 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,” says Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “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.”

Says David Eun, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Google, “We are thrilled to welcome ABC and ESPN into our global content network of premium partners. More and more studios and networks are realizing the power of YouTube to reach a huge and engaged audience. Our diverse collection of ad products, Content ID tools, and sophisticated online analytics provide studios like ABC with innovative monetization options, more control over their online content, and granular insight into how audiences are interacting with their videos.”

Adds 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.”

The Disney/ABC and ESPN YouTube channels, available to U.S. users, will be supported at launch by advertising like YouTube’s InVideo overlays and by traditional display ads. However, as part of the agreement, Disney/ABC and ESPN will also be able to test pre-roll advertising on short-form content.

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