While the rumors of a deal with Hulu still linger, Disney Media Networks and YouTube just announced an agreement which includes the launch of multiple ad-supported channels featuring short-form content from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group. 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 ESPNs 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.
The Disney/ABC and ESPN YouTube channels, available to U.S. users, will be supported at launch by advertising like YouTubes 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.