Disney to let YouTube run short ABC, ESPN videos

AP AND AFP , LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO

Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 10

The Walt Disney Co said on Monday it had agreed to provide short-form videos from its ABC and ESPN television properties to run on Google Inc’s YouTube under an ad-revenue sharing arrangement.

Disney has yet to announce a deal with YouTube to share full episodes of such programs as Lost or Desperate Housewives, despite the shows being available in full on ABC.com and sites such as Comcast Corp’s Fancast or Time Warner Inc’s AOL.

“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,” Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement.

Disney will be able to sell ads against the videos in conjunction with its other marketing efforts.

Google has a similar video ad-sharing deal with broadcaster CBS Corp, which provides both short-form and full episodes.

Google remains locked in a legal battle with Viacom Inc, which is suing it for US$1 billion for infringing on copyrights for such shows as Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The ESPN channel will debut in the middle of next month, while the ABC channel, including videos from ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet, will debut in May.

Separately, Google has unveiled a new venture capital fund to back “young companies with truly awesome potential.”

Google Ventures will focus on finding and helping develop “exceptional startups” in industries including software, clean technology, biotechnology, health care and consumer Internet offerings.

“Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will,” Google Ventures managing partners Rich Miner and Bill Maris wrote late on Monday in a message on the US Internet giant’s Web site.

“If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the ‘next big thing,’ and we’ll be working hard to find them,” they said.

Miner and Maris said the enterprise would blend the best of top-tier venture capital firms with Google’s “unique technical expertise and brand.”