Not so Lost? ...
Disney to Offer ABC TV Shows Free on the Internet
"The evolution of ABC.com is just one piece of our comprehensive, digital multiplatform business initiative," said Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group. She said in a statement that the overall objective was to make a variety of information and entertainment "available to consumers whenever and wherever they choose."
ABC is leading the the mainstream effort to deliver media via alternate platforms, including iPods, cell phones,' and now over the internet. In Italy, you can get Lost on your Vodafone, for example.
The blogosphee is buzzing, and while Fred, Jeff and many others agree that this is a big move, not everyone agrees, just in case you were wondering. If you can put up with playing buzzword bingo (terms like "the reshaping of the media value chain," "the rethinking of media orthodoxy," "edge competencies," and "plasticity,") Umair does make a couple valid points.
Quoted from the WSJ:
As part of an effort to engage the online community, viewers from around the country will be able to gather in "rooms" online to watch an episode of, say, "Lost" and chat about it. Disney will also promote the creation of fan sites for various shows. "We want to tie all of these fan sites closer to our brand," says Albert Cheng, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney-ABC Television Group.
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…. viewers will have a choice of what type of ad to watch — for instance, a traditional video commercial or an interactive 'game' commercial.
Quote from arstechnica:
ABC's move is the boldest by far of the major networks. NBC appears to be headed in a similar direction, as Jeff Zucker, CEO of the NBC Universal Television Group has called on producers to rethink how they market their shows.
Offering full programs online is part of Disney's "rich media destination" strategy. Disney, which owns ABC, is making its content available through a number of delivery methods at varying cost to the consumer.
They can catch them when they first air or watch them online the day after for free, but with commercials. If they want to watch them on the go, individual episodes without ads are available from the iTunes Music Store for US$1.99 each, or they can purchase a season-long "multi-pass" for US$34.99 (about US$1.40 per show). There's the on-demand cable option for about US$1.00 a show, also without ads. Of course there's the most expensive option: the DVD, which will doesn't do much for immediate gratification as it won't be available until after the season concludes.
Quoted from Good Morning Silicon Valley:
Features like that will no doubt present an interesting value proposition to advertising planners, who are fast losing confidence in the effectiveness of traditional ads and looking for new ways to reach potential customers. Indeed, AT&T, Ford, Procter & Gamble and Toyota are all participating in the trial. If it's a success, we'll undoubtedly see other networks following suit. with serious implications for the cable industry, which could see its on-demand services challenged before they're ever rolled out, especially as the connection between the Net and the living room entertainment center get easier.
Quoted from Church of the Customer Blog:
As a proponent of creating fan communities that reside largely within a brand's online network, I'm encouraged by this tactic. It's relatively low-risk, a natural buzz-generator and will probably generate bundles of research data.
But let's hope ABC/Disney encourages the community to largely govern itself rather than imposing an omnipotent, brand-centric autocracy. ABC has given the community the keys; now it has to trust it enough not to crash it into the lake.
Quoted from the Washington Post:
"Going direct over a broadband (Internet) connection is a very smart business and I think you'll see other broadcasters follow suit," said Rich Greenfield, analyst at Pali Research.
"This just continues to bolster our view that you should be investing in content and programming over pure distribution" like cable operators, he said.
Quoted from the New York Times:
Advertisers that are expected to sponsor the Webcasts include Proctor & Gamble, Toyota, Ford, AT&T and Unilever, the company said. The advertisements, it added, will be interactive and "will take many and will be seen within each episode."
Quoted from paidContent.org:
It will be interesting to see whether people eschew the freedom of paid downloads for tethered streams of these shows. My guess is they’re two different crowds.
Ten advertisers will support Disney’s latest online initiative: a two-month trial streaming "Desperate Housewives," and "Commander in Chief," and the full season of "Alias." The group includes AT&T, Cingular, Ford, P&G, Toyota, Unilever, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures. The announcement includes a nod to affiliates. Alex Wallau, president, operations and administration, ABC Television Network, from the release: "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."
Quoted from Bloomberg.com:
The strategy is the first time a broadcast network will give away full-length TV shows online and illustrates the pressure on networks to increase their audience amid competition from cable and Internet services. Viewers won't be able to skip commercials and Disney said AT&T Inc. and Ford Motor Co. will advertise.
Shares of Disney rose 44 cents to $27.97 at 11:43 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares increased 15 percent this year through April 7.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006