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Disney and YouTube Join Forces to Create Family-Friendly Web Videos

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"Where's My Water?"
Courtesy of Disney Interactive

YouTube is set to become more magical: Disney Interactive Media has reached an agreement with Google's YouTube to spend a combined figure upwards of $15 million dollars creating original video content. These web series will be produced by Disney and distributed by YouTube on Disney.com and on an all-new, co-branded YouTube channel.

The partnership is a good move for both media giants. Disney, unable to create a digital distribution platform that attracts a large online audience, realized that kids looking for cool videos turn to YouTube, not Disney.

"It's imperative to go where our audience is," James A. Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive, told The New York Times. He added that to continue its legacy with a new generation of families, Disney would have to bring their content to the platform they prefer. Pitaro is under big pressure considering unique visitors to Disney.com dropped over 5 million from June to September.

YouTube, on the other hand, will receive exclusive, premium Disney videos directly on their site. Compared with children's cable TV, YouTube's content has the potential to be more offensive, filled with profanity, and overall more alarming to parents, which prevents YouTube from being an entertainment destination for kids. And despite its troubles floating online, Disney is still the leading family-friendly brand on the planet, a brand advertisers are very fond of.

"We want to work with the best brands and, yes, we expect this partnership to attract new advertisers," said Robert Kyncl, YouTube's global head for content partnerships. YouTube's current strategy is to compete with cable TV for ad dollars with Hollywood-produced, quality content.

The first series to debut as part of this partnerships will be based on Disney's popular puzzle app, "Where's My Water?." Pitaro mentioned that they hope to have up to 8 original series rotating in production. Disney also plans to run user-generated video on a regular basis to engage more deeply with their new audience more familiar with the ways of web 2.0.

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