Disney Media Networks and YouTube have announced an agreement which 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 their 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 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," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
The Disney/ABC and ESPN YouTube channels, available to U.S. users, will be supported at launch by advertising such as YouTube's InVideo overlays and 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.