Television

Disney-ABC to offer hit shows online in May and June

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MUMBAI: Get 'Desperate' and 'Lost' online! With an aim to expand its network and channel brands across multiple platforms and connecting viewers with their favorite shows anytime and anywhere, Disney-ABC Television Group will be offering ad-supported, full-length episodes of four ABC primetime series online at www.abc.go.com.

However, this offer will be a part of a two-month-long experiment. Current episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Commander In Chief, as well as the entire present season of Alias, will be available for streaming during May and June, marking the first time a broadcast network has made multiple series available for viewing online, free of charge to consumers.

"The evolution of ABC.com is just one piece of our comprehensive, digital media multiplatform business initiative. This announcement highlights the momentum we've achieved both in launching new broadband services and working with strategic partners in the digital media space, to ensure that our high-quality, informative and entertaining content is available to consumers whenever and wherever they choose," said Disney Media Networks co-chair and Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney.

ABC is also exploring ways to work with its local broadcast affiliates on these online offerings as they continue to evolve. "Our ultimate goal is to find an effective online model, one in which our affiliates can take part. To that end, we'll be sharing information from this two-month test in our discussions going forward, and working on ways for them to participate in this new method of delivering ABC programming," added ABC Television Network president operations and administration Alex Wallau.

"Our mission with this trial is to gather key learning about the technology and the consumers who utilize it in order for ABC.com to become the leading broadband digital entertainment experience, packed with innovative, immersive content for our viewers. In the months ahead, ABC.com will not only deliver a high quality, on-demand viewing experience to users, but will also gain valuable knowledge and research to help us better understand and serve our consumers in the rapidly evolving digital world," said Disney-ABC Television Group executive vice president digital media Albert Cheng.

As part of the trial, ABC has offered 10 advertisers the opportunity to test possible in-stream broadband advertising models as well as the ability to take advantage of sponsorships. The unique interactive video ads will take many different forms and will be seen within each episode. The advertisers include AT&T, Cingular, Ford, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever's Suave, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, among others.

"We have said all along that we are dedicated to finding ways to bring our advertiser partners along with us as we embrace new ways of doing business in the world of digital media. This unique project has allowed us to offer our advertisers the ability to deliver increased effectiveness in their messaging through targeted and engaging interactive ads that offer compelling consumer experiences," said ABC Television Network president sales and marketing Mike Shaw.

Combining an all-new sleek, modern design with user-friendly functionality, ABC.com will offer episodes the day after they premiere on the linear channel. Consumers will be able to pause and move back and forth between "chapters" within each episode, but will not have the ability to fast-forward through advertisements. Episodes will be streamed in 16x9 formatting which offers a cinema-like feel to the viewing experience.

Encoded and streamed in Flash 8, which offers the best video quality and allows users on both Mac and PC platforms to watch the video episode, will be offered in two different sizes. The standard viewing size is 500x282 pixels (streamed at 400kbs), and the larger viewing size is 700x394 pixels (streamed 700 kbps).

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