[09/20/07 - 01:52 PM]
Disney-ABC Television Group and Aol Sign Unprecedented Deal to Bring ABC's Primetime Line-Up to Aol Video
Generally, four episodes per series will be available at any given time.

[via press release from AOL]

Disney-ABC Television Group and AOL Sign Unprecedented Deal to Bring ABC's Primetime Line-up to AOL Video

Shows Available on AOL Through ABC.com's Emmy-Winning Full Episode Broadband Player the Day after They Air

Agreement Marks the First Time That a Full Feature Version of a Broadcast Network's Online Video Player Has Been Made Available Through an Online Portal

BURBANK, Calif. & DULLES, Va. -- Dedicated to expanding its network and channel brands across multiple platforms and connecting viewers with their favorite shows anytime and anywhere, Disney-ABC Television Group and AOL today announced the availability of full-length episodes of popular primetime shows on AOL Video. Delivered via a co-branded version of ABC.com's Emmy-winning broadband player, full episodes of ABC programs are available today at http://video.aol.com and beginning next week will feature ABC's new fall lineup of programming. The agreement marks the first time ABC's primetime programming has been made available on a major portal and is also the first time a major portal has offered a full feature version of a broadcast network's online video player.

Additionally, the two companies will team to offer select short form programming from ABC via an embedded short-form player, which will debut on AOL later this year. The short-form programming featured on the embedded player will include both original and derivative content from ABC.

"We're excited to partner with AOL on this groundbreaking agreement which not only expands the reach of our quality programming, but ensures the finest online viewing experience available through our own broadband player," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group. "As we experiment with new ways to grow our digital business, we remain focused on finding smart, new methods to connect viewers to the content they want and brands they love on the platforms they choose. This deal not only provides additional viewing opportunities for our consumers, but also gives our affiliates and advertisers another way to reach our audience and associate with our powerful network brands."

"We're excited to be working with ABC to make their Emmy-winning programming available on AOL in time for the start of the fall season," said Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO of AOL. "AOL is committed to connecting consumers with the widest selection of high quality video on the web and with the addition of ABC, AOL Video is the only destination with agreements to offer free streaming primetime programming from all four major television networks."

New episodes of ABC series offered free to consumers on AOL the day after their broadcast premieres include: "The Bachelor" (premieres online Tuesday, September 25); "Big Shots" (premieres online Friday, September 28); "Brothers & Sisters" (premieres online Monday, October 1); "Carpoolers" (premieres online Wednesday, October 3); "Cavemen" (premieres online Wednesday, October 3); "Dancing with the Stars" (premieres online Tuesday, September 25); "Desperate Housewives" (premieres online Monday, October 1); "Dirty Sexy Money" (premieres online Thursday, September 27); "Eli Stone" (online premiere TBD); "Grey's Anatomy" (premieres online Friday, September 28); "Lost" (online premiere TBD); "MEN IN TREES" (premieres online Saturday, October 13); "October Road" (online premiere TBD) "Private Practice" (premieres online Thursday, September 27); "Pushing Daisies" (premieres online Thursday, October 4); "Samantha Who?" (premieres online Tuesday, October 16) and "Ugly Betty" (premieres online Friday, September 28). Generally, four episodes per series will be available at any given time.

Combining sleek, modern design and user-friendly functionality with geo-targeting ability, the ABC.com broadband player on AOL will be co-branded with an "ABC.com on AOL" message alongside the local ABC affiliate's station ID based on the individual user's geographic location. Individual episodes viewed online will feature up to three interactive advertisements from one national sponsor, as well as an additional local ad insertion. ABC will continue to sell national advertising for the broadband player and local affiliates will continue to be responsible for local ad sales. Since the broadband player launched on ABC.com in September 2006, over 140 million episodes of ABC primetime series have been initiated by users, and to date, ABC affiliates covering 80% of the country have launched or are committed to launch the players on their own websites.

"Based on the success ABC affiliates have had online in the past year since launching the broadband video player on their own sites, we believe this initiative with AOL offers tremendous potential for increased exposure and promotional opportunities for local stations," said Ray Cole, chairman, ABC Television Affiliates Association. "We look forward to working together with ABC and AOL to break new ground in the digital distribution arena."

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 ABC Studios, Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney-ABC International Television. Disney-ABC Television Group also manages the Radio Disney Network in addition to the Company's equity interest in Lifetime Entertainment Services and A&E Television Networks.

AOL is a global Web services company that operates some of the most popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software and services, runs one of the country's largest Internet access businesses, and provides a full set of advertising solutions. A majority-owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., AOL LLC is based in Dulles, Virginia. AOL and its subsidiaries also have operations in Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at AOL.com.

  [september 2007]  


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