ESPN currently syndicates video on mobile devices but has restricted video clips to its own Internet properties. ESPN says the strategy has been successful as fans viewed ESPN.com videos more than 1.2 billion times in 2007, a 54 percent increase over 2006. On average, fans viewed more than 105 million videos per month last year.
So why get involved with AOL?
Despite the fact that ESPN was the 13th largest distributor of video on the Web in February (according to Nielsen’s VideoCensus), ESPN will get more distribution and exposure for its video through AOL — and the ad revenue that goes along with it. AOL gets more content to differentiate it from other video aggregators.
Videos via an embedded ESPN video player will include highlights from games and major sporting events, breaking news, as well as clips from ESPN’s original programming, including “SportsCenter Right Now,” “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” and “Around the Horn.”