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ESPN is shutting down its YouTube channels over paid subscriptions

The switch was first noticed at Grantland, where YouTube videos have been pulled en masse and replaced by ESPN's official player.

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Not everyone's happy with YouTube's new paid subscription option. In the wake of this week's announcement, ESPN has begun pulling its videos off YouTube, presumably as a result of an ongoing contract dispute with the company. The switch was first noticed at Grantland, where YouTube videos have been pulled en masse and replaced by ESPN's official player.

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The state of ESPN's official YouTube channel has fluctuated throughout the day. Early in the morning, all videos were made private leaving visitors with an empty page, as below. Embeds of the pulled videos (as in this ) showed a blank space, indicating that the video has been made private, although it's unclear whether the action was taken by ESPN or YouTube itself.

Just before noon, old videos began to reappear on the page, none more recent than three years old. It's unclear what strategy motivated the shift.

ESPN's parent company Disney had initially pushed back against YouTube Red, but according to Deadspin, that dispute isn't what's behind today's blackout. Disney at large has signed on with the service, but the deal doesn't include ESPN itself because of rights issues concerning some of the footage rebroadcast by the channel. "Videos of partners who don’t update their terms will be made private," YouTube said in a statement to, "but we remain committed to working closely with these partners with the goal of bringing them on board."

The blackout hasn't been consistent across ESPN properties. ESPN's First Take channel is still alive and well, as well as two of ESPN's other featured channels. Disney's official channel is also unaffected, and includes a number of ongoing web shows that might make it difficult to abandon YouTube entirely. In September, the company announced a YouTube-only animated series called "Star Darlings," including extensive merchandise and retail tie-ins.

Source: The Verge

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