Despite the industry’s current obsession with new platforms and technology, content continues to drive the biggest deals. AOL and ESPN, for instance, just announced a major syndication deal, which gives AOL audiences access to video from ESPN, including news, highlights and analysis.
Per the pact, ESPN will provide AOL with a range of video content seen on SportsCenter and other ESPN programs, covering an array of sports.
AOL will syndicate ESPN video content across both its owned and operated sites, including AOL.com and The Huffington Post, along with its network of some 1,700 publisher partners from Cox to The Boston Globe. Ad sales for this video content will be led by ESPN, while revenue will be shared by both parties along with AOL’s syndication partners.
“This is an important moment for ESPN, AOL and our partners,” Ran Harnevo, senior vice president of AOL Video, stated.
Along with AOL editors, ESPN’s production facility is expected to help program content across the AOL network. Consumers reading text articles on both AOL’s family of sites and its partners’ sites will be served relevant ESPN videos, providing an optimal consumer experience.
The library of ESPN videos will also be housed in a brand-specific channel on the AOL On Network -- on.aol.com/espn -- AOL’s video platform, which launched in 2012 and exclusively features premium video content.
The No. 2 video property on the Web, AOL presently reaches more than 71 million unique visitors, and accounts for 992 million streams per month through the AOL On Network, according to comScore.
ESPN currently boasts more than 50 assets, including seven U.S. TV networks, ESPN International, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, and ESPN The Magazine. ESPN is 80% owned by ABC, Inc. -- which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company -- and 20% by The Hearst Corporation.