EDITOR’S NOTE: Justin Connolly serves as Executive Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Disney and ESPN Media Networks. He and his team secure agreements with both traditional and digital multichannel video programming distributors. With today’s YouTube TV launch, Connolly reflects on the company’s latest efforts in streaming.
Moments ago, our networks and on-demand content launched on YouTube TV in five markets: New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. For consumers, it means more choice and flexibility for a video experience that fits their needs. Likewise, the Disney/ABC and ESPN networks are now available across every live streaming subscription service currently in the marketplace. This allows us to reach more people and, in particular, provide another attractive multichannel option for millennials. While Pivotal Research Group recently scored ESPN and Freeform among the highest of all networks in reaching this audience, we still continue to add options to expand our presence and availability to this group.
ESPN’s history of leadership in live streaming dates back to 2007. At the time, we made live events the focus for ESPN3 (then known as ESPN360) and we will continue to drive innovation and change in this space by developing and implementing smart ways to showcase the quality and depth of live event and on-demand content across all platforms, devices and screens. In fact, just two days ago, our Product team released a new update to ESPN’s tvOS app featuring live streaming auto-play and hundreds of hours of additional content in a new collection titled ESPN Video On Demand.
Similarly, Disney/ABC has a long history of embracing the changing dynamics of viewing behavior. At the forefront in engaging and delivering for audiences, Disney/ABC has been a pioneer in digital platform distribution, ever since the launch of the Full Episode Player on ABC.com – the first free, ad-supported online streaming service for TV programs – in the summer of 2006.
We are doing more to navigate the changes in the marketplace than any other media company. Our digital usage and engagement continue to set records. We’re embracing technology and have an unmatched collection of all-encompassing rights to populate every existing and emerging platform. In addition to YouTube TV, we have completed deals with other partners, like Hulu, for additional digital multichannel subscription services which will launch later this year. Thanks to the great work from every group at Disney/ABC and ESPN, we are improving our competitive position and focusing on the future.