Not only has ESPN.com reportedly ditched selling through online ad networks, the site needs more video inventory to satisfy advertisers. In a bid to expand reach for its advertisers, the sports site will distribute its video content through AOL Video and AOL Sports. Game highlights, along with shows like “SportsCenter Right Now” and “Pardon the Interruption” will now be seen via an ESPN video player on AOL, in addition to ESPN.com.
MediaWeek recently reported that ESPN.com will no longer sell inventory through ad networks. Like that news, the AOL distribution deal indicates the site has more demand for advertisers than it can fulfill. So, it needs eyeballs from AOL viewers. While publishers struggle with trying to sell inventory, particularly trying to boost revenue from non-premium inventory, ESPN.com appears to be an anomaly in its ability to sell so much of its media direct.
Still, the site may need to branch out its ability to target audiences it doesn’t reach enough of on its own property.
At this point, ESPN.com wouldn’t tell ClickZ News anything about advertisers or sponsors. It plans to test AOL usage patterns before forecasting ad inventory.
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