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[03/30/09 - 03:35 PM]
Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN Reach Landmark Agreement to Showcase Premium Short-Form Content on Youtube
Channel roll out is scheduled to begin in mid-April for ESPN and early May for the Disney/ABC Television Group.

[via press release from ESPN]

DISNEY/ABC TELEVISION GROUP AND ESPN REACH LANDMARK AGREEMENT TO SHOWCASE PREMIUM SHORT-FORM CONTENT ON YOUTUBE

Disney/ABC and ESPN to Control Ad Inventory and Test Alternative Ad Models for Professionally Produced Short-Form Content on World�s Largest Online Video Site

Premier ESPN Content to Feature Prominently in YouTube�s Sports Category

Disney Media Networks and YouTube today 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 exciting 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. "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. "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."

"Reaching and engaging fans is paramount in all that we do as a company, and YouTube is a great platform to achieve that goal," said George Bodenheimer, co-chair, Disney Media networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports. "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 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.

About Disney/ABC Television Group

The Disney/ABC Television Group is home to all of The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE: DIS) worldwide entertainment and news television properties. The Group includes the ABC Television Network (including ABC Daytime, ABC Entertainment and ABC News divisions); the Disney Channels Worldwide global kids� TV business, ABC Family and SOAPnet; as well as television production and syndication divisions ABC Studios, Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney-ABC International Television. The Disney/ABC Television Group also manages the Radio Disney Network, general interest and non-fiction book imprint Hyperion, as well the Company�s equity interest in Lifetime Entertainment Services and A&E Television Networks.

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc. is the world�s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (32 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About YouTube Entertainment

YouTube has more premium partners than any other online video site and is actively working hand-in-hand with a growing list of content creators and advertisers across the entertainment industry to help them generate revenue and innovate in the digital era. YouTube�s sophisticated analytics and online tools show content creators how, when and why their audiences are engaging with their material. From major, household names like Disney to small, independent studios and aspiring filmmakers, YouTube provides a platform where anyone from around the globe can connect, share and enjoy much of the world�s best entertainment online.





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