- The Walt Disney Co. has entered into a global strategic relationship with Google that will see Ad Manager handling all of its digital video and display advertising, according to a blog post by Google. Google will support advertising for Disney, ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars across live streaming and direct-to-consumer content on the web, in mobile apps, on connected TVs and for live events.
- The new deal comes Disney ends it relationship with Comcast's FreeWheel, Ad Age reported.
- "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 the blog post.
The new Disney partnership is a win for Google and could bring in tens of millions in revenue each year over three years, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The deal is part of Disney's efforts to centralize its advertising operations and technology and comes as TV networks are reworking their advertising systems to make up from the rise in cord cutting and more viewers embracing digital streaming.
Disney leaving FreeWheel follows a tense year between Comcast and Disney, as the media companies were in a bidding war for 21st Century Fox and Sky. Comcast won control of Sky with a $38.8 billion bid, and Disney is paying $71 billion for most of Fox’s assets, according to the Journal. The bad blood between the companies goes back to 2004, when Comcast made and then pulled an offer to buy Disney, a deal the latter had "aggressively rejected," according to The New York Times.
The partnership could also create new opportunities for marketers, who have also being seeking out new ways to reach audiences on digital platforms. Advertisers have been investing more in advanced TV options, with 58% investing in over-the-top (OTT) or connected TV, 44% in programmatic linear TV, 40% in addressable TV, 35% in data-enabled linear TV and 32% in set-top box VOD, according to an Advertiser Perceptions report. Audience targeting, cross-screen planning and buying, and addressability are driving the investment.
Google has been growing its presence in the TV space, and winning Disney could help solidify its place. FreeWheel, which Comcast acquired in 2014 for $320 million, has been a Google competitor. Along with Disney, Google also has a partnership with CBS to deliver ads across its digital properties, and A&E Networks and AMC also use Ad Manager. Google recently added TV screens as device type that allows advertisers to target YouTube audiences watching video on TV through Chromecast, set-top boxes, video game consoles and smart TVs. YouTube ads on TVs drove an average lift of 47% in ad recall and 35% in purchase intent. Advertisers can access TV-focused analytics and set specific bidding for TV viewers.