YouTube and the Walt Disney Company are joining forces. According to Brooks Barnes of the NY Times, the two media giants have struck a deal that could mean big things for both companies.
The new partnership, a joint effort that should cost a combined $10 to $15 million between the companies, takes the form of original video series. YouTube and Disney are set to launch a co-branded channel on Disney.com and YouTube to feature a number of original shorts, produced by Disney, as well as amateur video uploaded to YouTube by fans. The first of the original Web series will be based on ‘Where’s My Water?’, a popular Disney puzzle app featuring an alligator named Swampy. James A. Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive, reported that they hope to have eight different original series in production at any given time.
But what, exactly, do YouTube and Disney have to gain from this partnership? They’re each heading into the partnership to solve different problems. Barnes reports that, “Disney, currently working on yet another overhaul of its Web site, is conceding that its own brand is not a powerful enough draw among children looking for online video; YouTube is viewed as being cooler.” Disney Interactive has also lost over $300 million over the past year and is hoping to make up for some of this with new web video that can be monetized, while also dipping into YouTube’s audience pool. Disney will sell ad inventory on the series and split part of the revenue with YouTube.
YouTube’s global head for content partnerships, Robert Kyncl, says, “It’s an acknowledgement that we want to work with the best brands and, yes, we expect this partnership to attract new advertisers.” Additionally, a partnership with Disney is great for YouTube because it gives them credibility among parent. Barnes points out that many parents “aren’t thrilled at setting their younger children loose on a site where the videos can be ragged and provocative and the comments even more so.” By cross branding, YouTube could potentially win over some of these parents.
Of course, this big partnership also lends itself to YouTube’s goals of giving the television business a run for its money. Last week YouTube announced a brand new channel lineup including big stars like Madonna, Jay-Z, Tony Hawk, Rainn Wilson, Deepak Chopra, Ashton Kutcher and others. They’re also rumored to have offered cash advances of more than $100 million to producers for professional content. Having some original content produced by Disney on their roster definitely won’t hurt their cause!
What’s your take on this news? Are you excited to see what Disney and YouTube are going to come up with?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.