[09/12/06 - 12:00 AM]
ABC & Warner BroS. Television Reach Agreement Regarding Digital Distribution Rights for "The Nine"

[via press release from ABC]


Disney-ABC Television Group's ABC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television announced today that they have reached an agreement regarding the digital distribution of the highly-anticipated new drama, �The Nine.�

Under the terms of the experimental deal, which was brokered by Disney-ABC Television Group's Mark Pedowitz and Jana Winograde and by Warner Bros. Television Group's Craig Hunegs and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution�s Simon Kenny, ABC has the ability to distribute �The Nine� as a non-permanent offering, which includes streaming episodes online and retaining the advertising revenue generated on the ABC.com broadband player. Warner Bros. Television Group will offer permanent, commercial-free digital downloads of series episodes the day after network broadcasts.

�This announcement underscores our desire to find new and inventive ways to create an ABC-branded experience for viewers that goes beyond their television sets,� said Albert Cheng, executive vice president, Digital Media, Disney-ABC Television Group. �The efforts of Mark Pedowitz and Jana Winograde, on behalf of ABC, and our partners in television and digital distribution at Warner Bros. have resulted in an agreement that should provide invaluable insight as we move forward building our digital business.�

�This is a great example of network and studio partners working together to extend and expand the network television business,� said Craig Hunegs, EVP, Business Management Warner Bros. Television Group. �We are pleased to align with ABC to give viewers convenient on-demand access to our terrific new drama.�

Following its October 4 premiere on ABC, episodes of �The Nine� will be available on ABC.com's ad-supported broadband player for approximately four weeks.

Consumers can purchase episodes the day after broadcast on a variety of digital download platforms.

�We�re thrilled to be able to offer this first-rate product in such a timely fashion to our existing EST partners, such as iTunes, Amazon and AOL, and we look forward to expanding distribution beyond to a number of additional online retailers in our continuing effort to make our programming available to consumers where they want it, when they want it and how they want it,� added Simon Kenny, President, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.

ABC and Warner Bros. have a history of working together to break new distribution ground. In 2001, the two companies forged a precedent-setting repurposing agreement which allowed ABC Entertainment the ability to immediately rebroadcast episodes of the Warner Bros Television-produced series �The Court� on its cable networks.

This announcement is part of the Disney-ABC Television Group�s overall Digital Media multiplatform business initiative and demonstrates the Group�s ongoing commitment to launching new digital products and working with strategic partners in the digital media space to make its high-quality, informative and entertaining content available to consumers whenever and wherever they choose.

�The Nine� is a complex character drama series that will unravel the mystery of what transpired during a 52-hour hostage situation in chronological flashbacks that open each episode. But the heart of the series is how that harrowing experience impacted the key characters in their present day lives as they continue to intertwine, deepen and complicate the connections to one another. Revolving through police, legal and medical worlds, the series is one of hope and rebirth, as the characters continue to reinvent themselves in a positive way or are haunted by fateful decisions from which they struggle to recover.

The series stars Lourdes Benedicto (�24�), John Billingsley (�Star Trek: Enterprise�), Jessica Collins (�Ghost Whisperer�), Tim Daly (�Wings�), Dana Davis (�Veronica Mars�), Camille Guaty (�Prison Break�), Chi McBride (�Boston Public�), Kim Raver (�24�), Scott Wolf (�Party of Five�) and Owain Yeoman (�Troy�).

�The Nine� was created by the brother-and-sister writing team of Hank Steinberg (�Without a Trace,� �61*�) and K.J. Steinberg (�Beautiful People,� �Judging Amy�).

Hank Steinberg and Alex Graves (�The West Wing�), who directed the pilot, are executive producers and K.J. Steinberg is co-executive producer/writer. �The Nine� is from Sunset Road Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Disney-ABC Television Group is home to all of The Walt Disney Company�s worldwide entertainment and news television properties. The Group includes the ABC Television Network, Disney Channel�s worldwide portfolio of kids� channels, ABC Family and SOAPnet; as well as television production and syndication divisions Touchstone Television, Walt Disney Television Animation, Buena Vista Worldwide Television and Walt Disney Television International. Disney-ABC Television Group also manages the Radio Disney Network in addition to the Company�s equity interest in Lifetime Entertainment Services, A&E Television Networks and E! Networks.

Warner Bros. Television (WBTV) is one of the entertainment industry�s most respected providers of original content, producing award-winning drama and comedy series, made-for-television movies and miniseries for both network and cable television. With 27 series set to air during the 2006-2007 season, WBTV is the industry�s number one supplier of primetime television programming, with multiple shows on each of the five broadcast networks, as well as numerous cable networks.

  [september 2006]  

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