August 21, 2006 4:55 PM PDT

Disney calls Net TV effort a success

ASPEN, Colo.--A Walt Disney Co. executive on Monday said the company's experiment with delivering TV shows over the Internet has been a success and it will continue this fall.

Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, said the free, ad-supported shows are attracting a younger audience that's more comfortable watching shows on a computer screen than their parents might have been.

Anne Sweeney
Anne Sweeney,
Disney TV president

"Last year we were using the Disney Channel Web site as a marketing tool," Sweeney said at the Progress and Freedom Foundation's technology policy conference here. "Today we're using it as a programming tool."

Sweeney said since Disney Channel shows began appearing on DisneyChannel.com, there have been 37 million downloads, an average of 1 million visitors a day, and 1.5 billion page views for the time period of June 2 to August 3.

In addition, ABC has experimented with placing episodes of "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Alias" and "Commander-in-Chief" on the Internet for free as part of a two-month trial. That garnered 5.6 million downloads during that period, Sweeney said, and 87 percent of the viewers remembered the advertisements they saw (one episode, for instance, was sponsored by Oil of Olay, and all have only one advertiser per episode).

"The platforms didn't cannibalize the television exposure of our series," Sweeney said. "We weren't cannibalizing our iTunes offering." She said ABC will continue to offer free, ad-supported TV shows with a revamped media player this fall.

ABC was one of the earlier networks to offer its shows for download for $1.99 through Apple Computer's iTunes store. The store now offers more than 150 TV shows from networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and MTV.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' visit to Disney-ABC's offices in Burbank, Calif., helped to seal the original iTunes deal last fall, Sweeney said. "He came down to Burbank with the video iPod, with the beta version of the iTunes store," she said. "He sat with us, and we looked at our programming on the video iPod. We saw how easy and intuitive it was for people to go into our store and purchase our content."

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4 comments

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Even Better Hooked To The HDTV
I have an HDTV and downloading shows from iTunes and
hooking up the MacBook Pro to the TV is way better and more
comfortable than watching them on the computer screen. And
the quality is really good enough. Now imagine a MacMini to
download the shows, always there by the TV... A no brainer. I am
sure that higher quality will soon be available for download as
well, just like Apple Lossless CD tracks encoding are making an
appearance for download.

I killed my cable subscription a long time ago, and I don't need a
tuner either. TV, as we have known it, is slowly dying. The only
thing it still has to offer, maybe, is the shared experience of
watching a show with the rest of the world, and maybe talk
about it face to face afterwards.
Posted by jmdecombe (26 comments )
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What are you smoking?
Even watching iTune shows on my iPod or in iTunes / QuickTime, the shows are filled with artifacts. They are heavily compressed and it shows even on the iPod's tiny screen, so watching the Aquaman pilot on a 42" or higher HDTV would be extremely painful to watch.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Neutral Internet Delivery Will Bypass Cable $tranglehold on Content Owners.
Cox Cable wants $920 a year for HDTV. You can download 1080i TV programming today. Well you can START your download today and watch it tommorrow, or the next day.... An hour program is 50 Gigs, but so what? it's not like you have to sit there turning a little crank or something.

It's kinda like waiting for the next NETFLIX disc in the mail.

And a full 720 X 480 DVD .ISO image is only 4 Gigs or so.

Bit Torrent, and AVALANCHE promise to make things even faster.

Disney is one of the smartest companies out there. I think they have a good head start on the other content providers.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
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