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YouTube signs on scraps of Disney

Ad-backed clips imminent

YouTube has signed up the Mouse House's media division to upload some Disney conglom content on the ubiquitous video site.

Under the pact, Disney will launch several ad-supported channels consisting of clips from ESPN and the Disney/ABC Television Group. Although Google conceded to let the Mouse sell its own advertising, the deal doesn't appear to include any full-length television episodes.

The channel rollout will begin in mid-April for ESPN sporting fare, and in early May, Disney/ABC will launch channels for ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet. Disney is obviously more comfortable signing over its child company ABC than sending Hanna Montana to work on the web.

It would seem the pact is more a gesture of goodwill and toe-dipping than any serious support for YouTube. ESPN will integrate its own video player into the site, but only highlights will be available through the YouTube player.

The site will also only get scraps of ABC content, despite the network distributing full-length episodes on ABC.com.

"This deal provides us with the opportunity to reach a broader online audience, to experiment with different monetization models and to extend the reach of our advertisers within branded environments they most desire," said Annie Sweeney, chief of Disney Media Networks in a statement.

Advertising will be a combination of YouTube's video overlays and traditional display ads in addition to pre-roll ads sold by Disney.

As is regretfully the norm in streaming content deals, YouTube is hanging a "no foreigners allowed" sign on the Disney club house. Content will only be available to US users only.

If you're really excited to see ABC clips and short special features, the network has already set up a YouTube channel pitching a "coming soon" preview roll here. ®

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