Just two days after YouTube announced its new paid streaming service, YouTube Red, ESPN appears to have pulled a lot of its videos from the service.
As Deadspin pointed out on Thursday evening, the Grantland YouTube channel, which is run by ESPN, has no more videos. You just see a “This channel has no content” message when you visit. More than 376,000 people subscribe to the Grantland YouTube channel.
Other ESPN YouTube channels, including its main ESPN channel, appear to be missing videos too.
The removal of videos could be tied to YouTube Red, a $US9.99 per month subscription service that YouTube announced on Wednesday. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment when Tech Insider asked about the missing videos.
A YouTube spokesperson told Tech Insider that Disney, ESPN’s parent company, is part of YouTube Red. But because of content rights issues, ESPN won’t be part of YouTube’s new service at launch.
Subscribers to YouTube Red won’t have to sit through pre-roll ads when they stream YouTube videos, and they will also get exclusive content and other perks, like the ability to watch videos offline and access to Google’s Spotify-like streaming music service.
But as part of YouTube Red, Google has asked its millions of YouTube partners — which can include people from YouTube stars to big media companies — to agree to new advertising and revenue terms. It’s unclear what those terms are exactly, and YouTube isn’t saying. But YouTube told Tech Insider earlier this week that if a YouTube partner doesn’t agree, then their videos will be listed as “private” on YouTube when the service launches, because “it isn’t fair to ask a fan to pay $US9.99 for a service that has less content than a free service.”
This could be why ESPN appears to be removing some of its videos from YouTube. It could lose potential ad revenue because YouTube Red subscribers won’t see pre-roll ads, giving ESPN little incentive to keep publishing videos to the service.
In a statement to Tech Insider on Wednesday, YouTube said that “the overwhelming majority” of YouTube’s partners have agreed to the new terms.
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