Disney? Partnering with YouTube?

 Via: Animation Magazine

As was announced yesterday (although I can’t find the press release because, well, their a wee bit behind on updating their website) Disney has agreed to partner with YouTube to create custom content for the streaming website. This is interesting on a couple of fronts but mainly because it seems to run counter to what the company as a whole has been saying in regards to the internet.

The main media outlets have discussed the deal and what it will cover but what about the details, the nitty gritty. There’s a lot of talk about “interactive content”, “family-friendly videos”, “user-generated” and so forth but at the end of the day, what does that get you?

This is where animators need to pay attention because it’s easy to get swept up in the rush to interact with your customers. There’s no right way to do it, but there are plenty of false leads out there.

For Disney, sure, this interactive partnership is a great idea, but unfortunately its likely to be dead in the water if it can’t get other divisions of the company behind it. Case in point, the film studio. If the company is trying to engage fans, they would be much better off to allow fans to use the original source material but as we all know, Disney videos get yanked from YouTube barely after they make it up.

This seems to send a mixed message. On the one hand the company is attempting to engage with consumers but on the other, its trying to push them away. This is the unfortunate result of a large conglomerate having different parts moving in different directions.

Animators need to look at such behaviour and be able to do so in an objective manner. Which direction would you choose? Is it better to trust your fans or lock up your content? Plenty of you out there are extremely reluctant to put your films on YouTube. That’s grand, but unless you’re Bill Plympton, you’re only hurting yourself in the end.

As for the Disney/YouTube deal, expect to see a bit of content come out but it will be hamstrung by the former’s corporate guys from ever using some of the more valuable material. Expect the entire thing to die a quiet death in a few years (or not).

All in all, it seems YouTube is the big winner here. Having a name like Disney attached is sure to give them the leverage they need to strike more deals. Keep an eye on them.