Disney-ABC Television Group and ESPN struck a deal with Google's YouTube to offer short-form content -- but not full-length episodes -- on the No. 1 Internet video site, and under the deal the Disney networks will be able to control their own ad inventory for their content.
Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
YouTube will roll out an ESPN channel in mid-April and the Disney-ABC Television Group channels will launch in early May, which will include ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet. Previews of what will be available at official launch can be viewed at www.YouTube.com/ABC and www.YouTube.com/ESPN.
As part of the deal, the ESPN Video Player will be integrated into ESPN's channel on YouTube, and ESPN also will make some additional short-form content available through YouTube's player.
The ABC and ESPN YouTube channels, available to U.S. users, will include traditional display ads and formats such as YouTube's InVideo overlays. In addition, ABC and ESPN will be able to test pre-roll advertising on short-form 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," Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said 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."
George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, added, "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."