The Right Stuff?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on April 10, 2006

Could it be that a content provider is finally getting it right?

Disney, which owns the ABC network, as well as the Soapnet, ABC Family and Disney Channel cable networks, is planning to offer quite a bit of its shows for free anytime on the Web after they air.

The move could help reverse the rising tide of illegal file-sharing, as it looks like fans of “Lost” and other hit shows around the world will finally get a chance to secure quality copies of their favorites at the same time as everyone else (i.e., no waiting a year or two for it to appear in New Zealand or Ivory Coast).

Beginning April 30 and rolling out throughout the summer, the ABC.com website will add a menu of shows. To be sure, the move is not altruistic. Two of the three initial shows—“Alias” and “Commander in Chief” have been struggling recently in the ratings and could boost viewership during the remainder of their run.

For Disney, the move also may bring advertisers back into the fold, since viewers would still have to watch three mintues of commercials. Even then, Disney appears to be thinking creatively by having just one sponsor per episode and offering a choice of commercials to watch, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.

As always, the devil is in the details, but this deal, which could be a win-win for everyone, looks like one initially worth applause.

Reader Comments

PXLated

April 10, 2006 2:57 PM

>> the devil is in the details
Read somewhere that these are streamed only so they can insert the ads via your choice of topics. Even though one can time shift with an anytime stream, I prefer to be able to save.
Anyone know anything about this?

Josh Morgan

April 12, 2006 5:54 PM

Looks like a win-win for everyone but Apple. Unless of course Disney's largest shareholder has "one more thing" to say about it.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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