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In the wake of the recent news that YouTube will begin offering a subscription service, called YouTube Red, Disney has announced that content from its sports network ESPN will not be available on YouTube. The announcement specifically states that the removal is due to the introduction of YouTube Red.

Disney has not commented on the particular issues it has with YouTube Red, but a YouTube spokesperson told Reuters that ESPN would not be a part of it due to “rights and legal” issues. The specifics of what that means exactly wasn’t specified.

ESPN doesn’t really have the opportunity to deny YouTube Red either, just offering its content on regular old YouTube. While the linked article goes into more detail, the gist is that partners who choose not to sign up for Red will have their videos listed as “private” until they sign the deal.

Some have reacted negatively to YouTube Red in terms of what it means for content creators and the potential money they will receive from those viewers with Red compared to those without it—in other words, what cut they will receive from the subscription fee vs. what they gain in ad revenue.  According to Totalbiscuit, it seems that the money from all subs will go into one large pool, of which each individual partner will receive a percentage from based on the amount of time subscribers spent watching their content.

Whether there was a disagreement about pay, about being forced, or other unknown issues, we don’t know Disney’s full reason for removing ESPN from the service. The content that was previously available through ESPN’s channels is not disappearing, but will instead be showing up in various other ESPN digital properties. This may be an opportunity for Disney to put some investment into Blip.tv, a video hosting service that was recently shut down back in August.

Oddly enough, though, Disney itself has signed a deal to have its content included on YouTube Red, so there may be more behind the scenes issues ESPN has to deal with regarding the various sports leagues it has agreements with when coming to the decision. 

In any case, this is a curious blow for YouTube Red. Not a death knell, not necessarily the beginning of the end, but a large company saying that YouTube Red itself was the issue will definitely have some sort of an effect.

What does this mean for YouTube Red? Will other companies follow suit? 


Andrew Otton

Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Lover of some things, a not so much lover of other things.



  • BurntToShreds

    Definitely seems like a problem with ESPN itself and its nature as a sports network. Disney has countless other properties on YouTube that Red subscribers will gladly pour money into. As well, ESPN will be fine as they’re still a highly successful cable channel and their website probably has its own video client they can get ad revenue from.

  • ironexe

    “partners who choose not to sign up for Red will have their videos listed as “private” until they sign the deal.”
    That’s pretty bullshit.

  • Travis

    Not really. It’s standard when there’s a change in the terms of service.

  • Jonathan Litwinka

    Going to wind up with Red due to my Google Music Subscription. I’m fine with supporting Content creators on youtube, but Red isn’t seeming like it’s the best deal for them.

  • the7k

    Anything is far better than the literal pennies we currently make with ads, I can assure.you of that.

  • Matthew

    Often with sports contracts between leagues, organising bodies and distributors content can’t be moved onto newer paid platform without a renegotiation of that contract. This may be why.

  • d0x360

    No it’s bullshit. They are forcing every single content creator to sign up or else nobody will ever see their content. That’s absurd. It also means creators will make a lot less money because it’s based on sub’s and I don’t see many people subscribing… Not to YouTube.

    What we need is a good competitor to YouTube who pays out fair rates and doesn’t dick the people who made them what they are. People like total biscuit and pewdiepie are the reason YouTube makes money and they are essentially screwing them over. They are also making it impossible for new creators to ever make it because they will make nothing because the big guys will get all the revenue and since there won’t be much revenue to go around everyone is screwed.

  • Travis

    “No it’s bullshit. They are forcing every single
    content creator to sign up or else nobody will ever see their content.”

    Which is a completely standard thing to do when the terms of
    service change. Just like every content creator had to agree to the updated
    terms of service when YouTube introduced ads.

    “It also means creators will make a lot less money
    because it’s based on sub’s and I don’t see many people subscribing… Not to
    YouTube.”

    If nobody subscribes, then it doesn’t make any difference
    one way or the other.

    “People like total biscuit and pewdiepie are the reason
    YouTube makes money and they are essentially screwing them over.”

    You legitimately have no idea what you’re talking about.
    Total Biscuit explicitly said that the subscription service benefits him much
    more than the average smalltime YouTuber. The guys with a lot of subscribers
    will inevitably get a larger share of the YouTube Red money than the smaller
    channels. And because payouts are based on time watched, people like Total
    Biscuit, who makes longer videos than most, benefit even more.

    ” They are also making it impossible for new creators
    to ever make it because they will make nothing because the big guys will get
    all the revenue and since there won’t be much revenue to go around everyone is
    screwed.”

    You seem to be under the impression YouTube Red is straight
    up replacing the current system. Advertising will still be there for people who
    don’t subscribe. The subscription service is simply an alternate revenue
    stream. One that, quite frankly, blows ad revenue out of the water.

  • Galbador

    This is only the begin of the downfall. Youtube will be pay-2-upload, just give it some time and it will come.