AOL, ESPN, SI, And The Video Game

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A trio of big-name brands will take different approaches to profiting from online video, varying through partnerships, services, and charging ISPs to carry their content.

AOL, ESPN, SI, And The Video Game
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Video’s popularity has made YouTube one of the Internet’s most heavily visited destinations. Monetizing those visits has been a tricky concept, leading to plenty of YouTube buyout rumors.

Some prominent names plan to make an attempt on making money from online video. They have multiple approaches to doing so.

AOL will use new technology, from its December 2005 Truveo purchase, along with more than 45 new channels of video-on-demand content from a list of providers both inside and outside the Time Warner arcology.

Advertising has been AOL’s revenue focus in a major way since the company let loose almost all of its walled garden of content into the wilds of the “audience-driven” Internet. The company has hinted at making it all freely available to broadband users.

All for the page views, which drive CPM advertising dollars.

While that part of Time Warner will try to find the money tree by using a new site and video services as its treasure map, another Time Warner property will make its way with a rival portal.

Sports Illustrated and Yahoo are together now, and it’s thanks to AOL that they are, a report in AdAge said. Yahoo receives sports content from SI, while SI shutters its fantasy games in favor of Yahoo’s.

But wait, there’s more. SI wants to increase its rich media presence online. There is plenty of room for improvement with the online video SI offers. Partnering with Yahoo puts SI on the path to competing with the Worldwide Leader in sports, ESPN.

For cable TV operators, ESPN has been a popular channel to offer viewers. It’s unthinkable to imagine a cable company not having ESPN in its slate of offerings.

When it comes to cable Internet, the unthinkable becomes reality. The Wall Street Journal reported that ESPN will charge Internet service providers for the right to offer the ESPN360 broadband video site.

Not many providers are buying what ESPN’s parent Walt Disney Company is selling here. Verizon Communications and Charter Communications have bought in, but others have resisted. Adelphia customers are out of luck, since its new owners Time Warner and Comcast either will not (Time Warner) or haven’t decided (Comcast) to carry ESPN360.

Carrying ESPN360 will mean passing its costs along to customers. That may not go over well with the non-sports fans who use a given ISP. Disney already runs ads in ESPN360, so the attempted double-dip will be especially off-putting to a lot of its potential audience.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

AOL, ESPN, SI, And The Video Game
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