ABC, ESPN Syndicate with Veoh

Michael Eisner-Backed Video Portal to Feature Primetime Fare
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ABC and ESPN announced that they will provide their television content to Veoh Networks, the Los Angeles-based video portal that counts former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and former Viacom CEO Tom Freston as investors.

The Veoh deal is only the second Web-syndication play for ABC, which has focused on providing content through its proprietary video player on ABC.com but did strike a deal last fall to distribute content through AOL.

Veoh will provide full episodes from ABC of shows such as Desperate Housewives using the ABC.com broadband player, along with short-form online video content from ESPN.com, such as a condensed version of SportsCenter and clips from Mike and Mike in the Morning, via a different ESPN player. Veoh will also offer short-form programming from ABC using an embedded short-form player that will launch later this year.

“We’re excited to bring high-quality content from ABC and ESPN to Veoh’s highly engaged users,” said Matt Murphy, senior vice president of digital video distribution for Disney and ESPN Media Networks, in a statement. “This deal expands the distribution of our quality programming through our own broadband players, growing the reach of our advertisers while maintaining their direct association with our powerful network brands.”

Veoh has a mix of user-generated and independently produced content, along with professional content from CBS, MTV Networks, Comcast’s FEARNet, Lionsgate, PBS, and Us Weekly magazine, and it said it attracts more than 28 million unique users per month.

The privately held company is backed by Shelter Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Eisner’s Tornante, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Intel Capital and Adobe Systems, and also counts Freston, former Viacom Entertainment chief Jonathan Dolgen and veteran media investor Gordon Crawford as individual investors.

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