The latest announcement from Google’s $100 million quest to bring professional, high-quality programming to 100 new video channels on its YouTube site: Disney Interactive Media and YouTube will spend a combined $10 million to $15 million on original video series. The mainly short-length videos will be produced by Disney and distributed on a co-branded channel on Disney.com and YouTube. The channel will also include amateur video picks from the many uploaded to YouTube daily.
“It’s imperative to go where our audience is,” James Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive, told the NY Times. He added that the idea is to “bring Disney’s legacy of storytelling to a new generation of families and Disney enthusiasts on the platforms they prefer.”
Disney Interactive has been losing money — over $300 million in the last four quarters — and Pitaro, part of a new leadership team at the division, is under pressure to create Web videos that can be monetized quickly. Disney.com’s traffic has also been dropping at an alarming rate. Unique visitors totaled 12.7 million in September, down from 17.9 million in June, according to the measurement company comScore. Seasonality does affect traffic to some degree. So, no matter how many times they’ve been trying to drive Disney Channel and Disney XD viewers online, it’s not working.
“It’s an acknowledgment that we want to work with the best brands and, yes, we expect this partnership to attract new advertisers,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head for content partnerships, told the paper.
Under the terms of the deal, Disney will produce the Web series, the first of which will be based on its popular puzzle app “Where’s My Water?” which features a grinning alligator named Swampy. The goal is to have eight original series in production at any given time.
Disney will sell the ad inventory and split part of the revenue with YouTube. Video from Disney television shows will also be featured on the channel.
RBR-TVBR observation: Seems many companies (including just recently, Meredith) are deciding to partner with YouTube to get the heavy lifting done—heavy lifting meaning an instant large audience that would take possibly years to achieve by going it alone. YouTube certainly has no problem helping out, either.