Disney Free Free Free on the WWW


The WSJ reports that many popular ABC shows will be streamed over the WWW free:

Walt Disney Co. plans to make much of its newest and most popular programming on ABC and other channels available free anytime on the Web, in a move that could speed the transformation of television viewing habits and help revive the struggling TV advertising business.

Episodes of the ABC shows -- which can be paused, rewound and fast-forwarded -- will contain commercial breaks that viewers can't skip, making Disney hopeful it has figured out a way to turn the delivery of programs over the Web into a profit-generating business.

Of course this makes the traditional content syndication business less relevant by the second:

Offering so much content online will probably ruffle some feathers. ABC affiliates, long accustomed to exclusive broadcast rights to new shows, are already griping that they don't profit from the network's deal with Apple.

The ad model will let viewers determine the types of ads they are interested in watching:

The ads won't look like typical TV commercials. For starters, instead of five commercial breaks during an hourlong episode, there will be three breaks lasting a minimum of one minute each -- all of them from the same advertiser. Mike Shaw, ABC's president of sales, says viewers will have a choice of what type of ad to watch -- for instance, a traditional video commercial or an interactive "game" commercial.

But Disney does not want to get stuck in Google's network:

Key to Disney's online TV strategy is to keep tight control of programs, which rules out partnerships with companies such as Google Inc. that are moving into video on demand.

Will this accelerate consumer adoption of video distribution over the web? Will other media companies be able to sell ads direct? Or will many of them be forced into Google Video (or similar networks) due to slimming margins and/or less relevance as the abundance of free or cheap on demand choices increases?


Good Directions

I'm a big Disney guy and I really like some of the technologically forward decisions the new CEO Bob Iger is making. I'm really looking forward to the idea of selling legal DVD's of movies that are still in the theatre in in the lobby if you've just seen the movie.

What would really be a good idea is to allow you to move the downloads freely between IPod, computer, and digital PVR.

i dont really understand the

i dont really understand the rationale for keeping out of G video -- to me it's the same premise as wanting to be in G search index. if they're concerned about G stealing the point of sale with their customers they need to find a way to add value on their site that G cannot replicate, and then use video search as a tool to get people to their site. same premise as google search.

i'm a little skeptical of the forced ad thing, simply because i think trying to force the customer rather than satisfy the customer is a limited run strategy.


Not sure if it was Disney, but I heard someone is thinking of offering video downloads in two versions, free with ads, paid without.

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