YouTube RED was responsible for much new exciting content with their existing YouTube creators and was also the reason for many top brands to close their YouTube channels. ESPN was among those big sports channels on American T.V that closed its doors for YouTube RED and pulled off their videos from YouTube’s free content distribution platform.
According to the WSJ‘s Mike Shields, “rights and legal issues” were originally the factor in ESPN’s decision to pull its content from YouTube.
But in the second month of February 2017, ESPN’s parent company Disney brokered a deal with Google that allowed ESPN to upload live X Games footage on YouTube. And later that week, short clips from ESPN’s shows like “SportsCenter” and “First Take” started appearing on the free, ad-supported version of YouTube as well as YouTube Red.
According to Wall Street Journal, an ESPN spokeswoman who said, “We were able to come to terms on a short form video agreement for YouTube and YouTube Red as part of our larger deal with The Walt Disney Company.”
— Alex Kaufman (@NSF_Alex) February 1, 2017
ESPN’s return to YouTube shows how Google is planning to launch their own “Skinny Bundle” to the millennials in order to combine multiple broadcasting T.V channels and create genre wise segregation. This means that YouTube will be bundling their premium content alongside its homegrown programming (CBS, Disney & others) to initiate YouTube RED as their ultimate destination for entertainment.
This move by Disney also showcases their intention to move ahead and recover the losses they are continuously facing due to “Cord cutting moment”. According to NIELSEN reports, this premium television sports channel lost more than 11,00,000 cable subscribers in the month of October and November. Considered as one of the most expensive sports channels on cable bundles in past two years, it’s clearly evident that they are losing their fan base as almost every social media is now broadcasting live content every season of MLB, NBA, and NFL.