SBD/October 10, 2013/Media

AOL Strikes Video Syndication Deal With ESPN Including Highlights, "SportsCenter" Clips

ESPN and AOL yesterday announced an agreement that provides AOL's audience access to a majority of video from ESPN. The company will provide AOL with ESPN-branded news, highlights, and analysis, including video content seen on "SportsCenter" and other ESPN programs, covering a wide array of sports. AOL will syndicate ESPN video content across both its owned and operated sites, along with its network of partners. The library of ESPN videos also will be housed in a brand-specific channel on the AOL On Network platform. Ad sales for this video content will be led by ESPN, and revenue will be shared by both parties, along with AOL's syndication partners (ESPN). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Edmund Lee noted AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is "seeking to transform the company into a content publisher driven by advertising." AOL On Network Senior VP/Video Ran Harnevo said, "Advertisers tell us there isn't enough quality inventory, and we're working fast to deliver that." Per the agreement, ESPN can "sell short commercials that run at the start of each video clip." ESPN will become the "anchor provider of sports-related content for AOL's network" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/9). An AOL spokesperson said that the deal with ESPN "does not affect its partnership with Sporting News" (ADWEEK.com, 10/9).
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