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Twitter Shares Pop on Disney/ESPN Live Content and Advertising Pact

ESPN and other Disney divisions are developing live shows for Twitter, under a wide-ranging pact announced between the Walt Disney Co. and the social-networking player.

Details on the new deal were scant, but the announcement Monday sent Twitter’s stock up more than 5% before closing up 4.5% for the day, to $30.31 per share.

The deal with Twitter spans live content and advertising from across the entire Disney portfolio. In addition to ESPN, Disney brands including ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform, Disney Digital Network, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Radio Disney and Marvel are creating live content for Twitter, the companies said.

As part of the new deal, Twitter and ESPN will announce specific live shows in development this week at their Digital Content NewFront presentations. Twitter’s is scheduled for the evening of Monday, April 30, and ESPN’s is set for Wednesday, May 2, at noon. Other Disney programming for Twitter will be announced down the road.

In 2016, Disney — along with other suitors, including Google — had engaged in talks to acquire Twitter but no deal came to pass. Disney had reportedly concluded that Twitter’s issues with trolls and hate speech were not a fit with its family-friendly image.

“Bringing together the best brands in sports, news and entertainment is something only the Walt Disney Company can deliver,” Justin Connolly, EVP of affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, said in announcing the deal. “Through this new agreement, participants from across the company will have the opportunity to create experiences unique to Twitter that will extend their brands in meaningful ways.”

The content from Disney and ESPN represents a “huge step forward in expanding the depth and breadth of video content we offer to leaned-in, engaged consumers on Twitter,” added Twitter global VP of revenue and content partnerships Matthew Derella.

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