Disney finally caves to YouTube
It’s rare that a company puts the word “landmark” in a press release and I agree with them.
However, in this case, I feel the word is appropriately used: Today, Disney Media Networks and YouTube announced that YouTube will host multiple ad-supported channels featuring short-form content from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group.
The wall is coming down.
To me, this is further proof of the power of YouTube, with 41 percent of online video market share. Disney has been perhaps the most cautious of the media companies in terms of putting its content out on other sites. It hosts its own robust sites and it was the first to cut a deal with Apple’s iTunes, but it hasn’t really been out on the edge when it comes to syndicating content across the Web. Thus far, Disney has really preferred the Internet audience to come to it, just as people flock to Disneyland’s gates.
But YouTube’s 5.3 billion videos viewed in February are hard to ignore, even for a behemoth like Disney, and the Internet is more about being where people are than trying to get them to come to you.
Creating channels full of short-form content is the perfect solution. Disney doesn’t give away the farm (or the milk or whatever other cliché would you like to insert) but it constantly reminds YouTube’s vast audience of its existence.
Short-form should be ESPN’s bread and butter - whatever great play happened the night before now will be available on ESPN and ESPN.com but also on YouTube. Internet video consumers have grown to expect such things to be on YouTube - it behooves Disney not to disappoint its ravenous fans.
ESPN’s channel roll-out is scheduled to begin in mid-April, while the Disney/ABC Television Group channels - including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet - will come online in early May. Disney Media Networks will have the option to sell its own advertising inventory, including pre-roll, on both channels. Google and YouTube’s ad networks also will sell ads - including InVideo overlays and traditional display ads - around the 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.”
“We are thrilled to welcome ABC and ESPN into our global content network of premium partners,” said David Eun, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Google, also in a statement. “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.”