ESPN To Pull Down Its YouTube Channel Over Rights Issue

ESPN is pulling down its YouTube channel, thanks to YouTube’s new ad-free subscription service, Red

Updated
Tech News
1 min read
Robert Kyncl, YouTube Chief Business Officer, speaks as YouTube unveils “YouTube Red,” a new subscription service, at YouTube Space LA offices (Photo: AP)

ESPN’s videos will no longer be available on YouTube, due to rights issues surrounding the launch of YouTube’s ad-free subscription service, Red.

The sports network said on Friday that fans will have to go to the ESPN website for videos.

Users can pay $10 (Rs 650) per month to subscribe to Red, which combines ad-free viewing with unlimited on-demand music. YouTube has said that creators must participate in Red in order to upload videos on YouTube in the US, even on the free, ad-supported website. The creators behind 99 percent of all content watched on the site have signed on, including ESPN’s parent company, The Walt Disney Co.

Why ESPN isn’t participating in Red remains unclear and spokewomen for both companies have declined to comment.

Laura Martin, media analyst, said that it is likely that ESPN’s pre-existing contracts with cable and satellite companies prevent it’s participation in YouTube’s subscription plan. These contracts are multi-year deals and non-negotiable until they expire. According to her, YouTube will have to make exceptions for ESPN if they want the sports network back.

YouTube sent out new contracts to its creators six months ago to sign new terms that would allow them to participate in new revenue from Red subscriptions. Those that don’t participate will have their videos turned to private in the US, effectively turning them off for all but the uploader.

YouTube is part of Google, a division of the newly created holding company Alphabet Inc.

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