Disney Interactive Media and YouTube are to co-invest $10 million to $15 million on original video series. These video shorts will be produced by Disney and distributed on a co-branded channel on Disney.com and YouTube. The channel will also include some UGC uploaded to YouTube daily.
In a reversal of Disney’s go-it-alone Internet strategy, Disney is now looking to capture a young audience on YouTube in addition to making YouTube a prominent part of its own site.
“It’s imperative to go where our audience is,” said James A. Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive. He added that the idea is to “bring Disney’s legacy of storytelling to a new generation of families and Disney enthusiasts on the platforms they prefer.”
Disney Interactive has been losing money — over $300 million in the last four quarters — Pitaro, part of a new leadership team at the division, is under pressure to create Web videos that can be monetised quickly. Disney.com’s traffic has also been dropping.
YouTube hopes to gain something from the Disney brand as well; credibility among parents, many of whom aren’t thrilled at setting their younger children loose on a site where the videos can be ragged and provocative and the comments even more so.
The Disney-YouTube partnership follows YouTube’s announcement late last month that it planned to create dozens of channels featuring comedians, sports stars, musicians and other entertainers. It is also offering cash advances to prospective producers that totalled more than $100 million, according to US reports.