syndicates video player to AOL

By Carolyn Braff
For sports fans whose Internet
routines do not include a daily visit to, the sports network has come
up with a simple solution – bring to the fans via a syndicated video
player. “We realized that there is value in reaching out to other areas
where our consumers are,” explains Matt Murphy, SVP of digital video
distribution at ESPN. “Research showed us that sports fans by habit often go to
just a handful of sites, so our goal is to go out there and continue to reach the
fans by syndicating our content outside of” is using a
syndicated video player to make its short-form online video content available
directly through AOL Video and AOL Sports, marking the first time ESPN has
syndicated its video content through an internet portal.
“We are very selective in
whom we enter partnerships with,” Murphy says, “but we are very optimistic that
we will be doing more.”
For now, ESPN is pushing
about 70 clips a day to its AOL video player, offering game highlights,
breaking news and clips from shows like SportsCenter Right Now, Mike and
Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn.
By using an embedded
player, ESPN is able to keep its branding consistent, even as fans navigate
away from the ESPN homepage.
“We’re very cognizant of
what our fans expect from ESPN, therefore managing that experience that they
have with our brand is important,” Murphy says. “We do that by using our
player, not the player of our partners who may have different philosophies
about how they want to represent content.”
The embedded player also
allows ESPN to keep tabs on the traffic generated through the video portal,
reducing the fears of traffic reduction that can accompany a syndication model.
In addition, by linking to content related to the video topics, ESPN
hopes to push traffic back to its home site.
“There was a lot of debate
about whether we were going to be creating value only for our partner by
bringing our content outside of,” Murphy says. “But we have become
comfortable with it and because we can keep track of the traffic that we are
getting, this will only make us stronger.”
With the embedded player
just two weeks old, it’s hard to make sense of the traffic data that ESPN has collected
thus far, but previous streaming experiences with do offer a point of
“The contextual relevance
of the content that we’re providing is making a difference,” Murphy says. “When
people go to AOL they are going there for a lot of reasons, but when they go to
the specific sports section, the video fits in very will with the stories that
they are featuring. Our goal is to serve the fan and this is another way to do
that, by reaching out to where they are on the Internet.”

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