×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney and Google Ink Broad, Multiyear Digital Advertising Deal

The Walt Disney Co. is moving all of its digital brands and properties worldwide — including Disney, ABC, ESPN, Freeform, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars — to Google’s advertising platform.

Under the multiyear pact, Disney will bring its entire global digital video and display business onto Google Ad Manager, which will serve as its core ad-technology platform. The deal cuts across multiple channels, including live streaming and direct-to-consumer content offerings.

Disney has previously used Google for some of its ad-serving business. With the companies’ new all-encompassing deal, Google will replace Comcast’s FreeWheel, which has been the ad-tech vendor used by ESPN and the Disney-ABC Television Group.

The companies said it’s a “multiyear” deal, but declined to say how long it will run or provide financial details. With the agreement, Disney Advertising Sales will be able to offer advertisers “optimized cross-platform delivery and performance measurement” of digital video and display ads, the companies said. The deal spans advertising for multiple content types, including long-form VOD, live-streaming video, short-form video, news content (both video and text), and fantasy games.

Disney had been in discussions with Google about a year about the Mouse House making a wholesale cutover to Google’s Ad Manager, according to Aaron LaBerge, CTO of the Disney Direct-To-Consumer and International segment. Disney had considered building or buying its own advertising-technology stack, LaBerge said, but concluded that given Google’s ongoing investment in the space “it was better for us to explore a partnership than trying to reinvent the wheel at the scale we are talking about.”

Disney formed the DTCI business, led by chairman Kevin Mayer, in a March 2018 reorg. The group encompasses Disney’s media and direct-to-consumer businesses globally, including all Disney networks outside of the U.S.; ESPN+; the Disney+ streaming service slated for 2019 launch; and the company’s ownership stake in Hulu. The creation of the Direct-To-Consumer and International unit “gave us an opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate some of our technical partners,” said LaBerge, who previously was ESPN’s CTO.

As part of the Disney-Google deal, Google will power the ads served in ESPN+, the subscription-sports service that debuted earlier this year. As for Disney+, there are not currently plans for the service to have advertising, but if that were ever to change it would be included under the Google pact, LaBerge said.

The new deal does not include Hulu, which has its own ad-tech platform. Disney owns 30% of Hulu and is poised to gain majority control under its deal to purchase 20th Century Fox assets including Fox’s 30% ownership stake in Hulu.

In aggregate, Disney’s digital properties reach about 230 million users worldwide, who spend more than 14 billion minutes of time per month visiting them, according to comScore data for September 2018.

Beyond letting Disney standardize on one global ad-tech platform, the companies said that under the deal they will collaborate to develop next-generation solutions and technologies across video, mobile, apps and display. The pact also will enable improved personalization and enhanced data metrics for cross-platform media use and engagement, according to Disney and Google.

For example, ads served in live-streaming digital video are “not always as good as what you see on television,” said LaBerge. Working with Google, DTCI expects to improve the way ads are stitched into live video so there’s a more seamless experience, he said.

“Together, we plan to build an advanced video experience for Disney that will transcend devices, platforms, and living rooms to bring the magic of premium video content into people’s hearts, minds, and screens—everywhere,” Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said in a statement.

More Digital

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content