AOL Secures Rights To Carry ESPN Video

Distinguishing itself further from other content portals, AOL has secured rights to carry ESPN video directly on AOL Video and AOL Sports.

AOL is the first portal to carry ESPN content, which will include highlights from games and major sporting events as well as ESPN original programming clips.

For ESPN, an expanded reach online equals the potential for greater ad revenue."Our advertisers benefit from a larger online video audience," said Matt Murphy, senior vice president, digital video distribution at ESPN. "The potential is tremendous."

ESPN already has quite an impressive following online. In 2007, sports fans viewed videos more than 1.2 billion times, a 54% increase over 2006. Also, on average, fans viewed more than 105 million videos per month for the year--growing to an average of more than 127 million for Sept. through Dec., according to ESPN.

In a similar deal, AOL Video became the first portal to carry ABC prime-time programming late last year.

Disney, the parent company of both ESPN and ABC, sees itself as a pioneer in the digital world of media. Yet each has sought to protect the quality of--and the business terms under which--their content is distributed online.

To protect the viewing experience on AOL Video, both ESPN and ABC programming is streamed over proprietary video players.

Content available through ESPN's embedded video player on AOL will include "SportsCenter Right Now," a twice-daily capsule of top sports stories, highlights and breaking news; clips from ESPN programs such as "Mike and Mike in the Morning," "Pardon the Interruption" and "Around the Horn;" and breaking news and game clips from major professional and college teams and sporting events.

The multi-sport video player will also offer links to content related to the video topics.

Users will be able to access the ESPN content through AOL Video's channel tab located on the home page. In addition, ESPN's videos will easily be found through AOL's video search, which is powered by its video search engine, Truveo.

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