Walt Disney announces 'Watch and Chat'

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Co. will test a "watch-and-chat" feature next week on its ABC Family Channel Web site that lets groups of viewers watch TV shows on the internet and chat about them at the same time.

Disney, whose ABC broadcast network was the first to offer free streaming videos of its prime-time shows on the Web, now hopes to build buzz around its ABC Family cable shows through the social networking feature.

ABC Family will test the feature on the season finale of its prime-time show "Wildfire" on Monday night. The streaming video of the show will go live on an hour after it airs on cable, and will be available through April 1.


The feature lets groups of up to 10 people set up "screening rooms" to watch the episode on laptops and write a running commentary that will appear on one side of the screen.
Each screening room host can pause, rewind and fast-forward video while they watch.

Paul Lee, president of ABC Family Channel, said "Wildfire" was chosen for the test because its audience of predominantly 14- to 28-year-old females is "the most passionate audience of any show on the network."

"There is a new generation here .... They are changing the way people watch TV or use other technology," Lee said. "When you link (social networking) to TV programming, it‘s almost like word of mouth on steroids.


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