ESPN's "featured" channels are going down one by one on YouTube, and it's all thanks to the new YouTube Red.
Just a few days ago, YouTube announced its new business model, jumping on the subscription bandwagon, and it has finally arrived for better or worse. YouTube Red is a paid subscription that offers users access to premium content, ad-free videos and the ability save offline videos at the price of $10 a month.
According to the video streaming website, this move benefits companies, helping monetize their content better compared to the old ad-supported model. However, everyone has to be on board for this to work.
Disney, ESPN's parent company, has agreed to be part of YouTube Red, but ESPN was excluded from the deal because of legal rights and issues, as sports content is a lot more complicated than others because of the licensing factors involved.
When the official ESPN channels started to greet viewers with "This channel has no content," sportswriter Richard Deistch took things to Twitter to find out what was going on, addressing the Grantland Network.
— Rafe Bartholomew (@Rafeboogs) October 23, 2015
He was then redirected to Grantland's website, where numerous sports-related videos were published just recently, essentially signifying moving out of YouTube because of the new paid subscription model.
As of now, it's unclear whether ESPN removed its content from the video streaming site or YouTube simply made it private, but it seems that out of the 13 ESPN channels, two are still intact: Nacion ESPN and X Games.
When ESPN was asked about the issue, a network spokesperson simply said that the company "is not currently part of the Red service."
It seems that most of the ESPN channels will be down for a while until ESPN joins YouTube Red, which could take a while because of the legal matters involved, and it's not even certain that they will reach an agreement regarding the matter.
Photo: Erik Drost | Flickr