YouTube, Disney joining ranks
10 November, 2011
LOS ANGELES: YouTube and The Walt Disney Co. announced on Monday they are teaming up to produce an original video series and feature "family-friendly" Disney programming on the popular video-sharing site.
Disney Interactive and Google-owned YouTube said the programming will be available on Disney.com and on YouTube and the "complementary online video destinations" will launch in early 2012.
"Disney Interactive will produce and program the co-branded video destinations for both Disney.com and YouTube, providing a family-friendly experience for viewers across both platforms," Disney and YouTube said.
The programming will include original video from Disney, Disney Interactive original series, some Disney Channel programming and content created by Disney users.
The first project will launch in February and will be an original video series based on Disney's mobile game "Where's My Water?"
"With online video consumption exploding and YouTube at the center of that trend, we see an opportunity for Disney Interactive and YouTube to bring Disney's legacy of storytelling to a new generation of families and Disney enthusiasts on the platforms they prefer," Disney Interactive co-president Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.
"As we prepare to re-launch Disney.com in fall 2012, the Disney/YouTube destination will play a critical part in our next generation platform," he said.
According to The New York Times, Disney Interactive and YouTube will spend a combined $10 million to $15 million on original video series.
The newspaper said Disney Interactive has lost more than $300 million in the last four quarters and described the deal as an acknowledgement by Disney that YouTube is a bigger draw for children looking for video online than Disney.com.
"It's imperative to go where our audience is," Pitaro told the Times.
The newspaper said Disney will sell advertising inventory and split the revenue with YouTube.
YouTube, which Google bought for $1.65 billion in 2006, has been gradually adding professional content in an effort to generate revenue and announced last month that it is adding about 100 channels of original programming.
YouTube remains the top online destination for amateur video, but it faces stiff competition when it comes to professional content from services such as Apple's iTunes, Hulu and Netflix.