DISNEY-ABC TELEVISION GROUP'S EMMY-WINNING ABC.COM TO OFFER VIEWERS MORE WAYS TO VIEW THEIR FAVORITE ABC SHOWS ONLINE WITH FULL-SCREEN AND MINI-PLAYER CAPABILITIES
New Propriety Research Confirms Additive Nature of Online Viewing and
Increased Viewer Perception of Online Advertisers
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 will add further enhancements to its Emmy Award-winning ABC.com broadband video, beginning this spring, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group, at The Walt Disney Company�s 2007 Investor Conference.
�We have been clearly focused on what consumers are doing and continue to build our business to match their behavior and their interests. In the past year, through efforts like our ABC.com video player, we�ve shown our dedication to deliver the best content to consumers in ways that are relevant and cost effective for them,� said Ms. Sweeney. �By continuing to listen to our audience and enhance our digital offerings with the best technology available, we further strengthen their relationship to our brands.�
Beginning this spring, users will be able to watch episodes in two additional screen sizes. Providing beautiful, crisp resolution, a full-screen viewing size will be added. Also, a small �mini� screen (240x136 pixels) that users can position wherever they choose on their desktops will be available. The standard viewing size (500x282 pixels) and the larger viewing size (720x404 pixels) will both continue to be offered as well. The enhanced player will also feature dynamic bandwidth selection which automatically adjusts the bitrate of video streamed to maximize the experience for users, regardless of the capabilities of their Internet connection.
Additionally, a �Pause Ad� feature will be rolled out. Whenever users pause an episode they are viewing online, the screen will feature a static ad from that episode�s featured sponsor which will remain on-screen until they reinitiate viewing of the show.
Later this year ABC.com�s full episode player will be expanded further to include national news and local content, in addition to primetime entertainment programming. Additionally, this new player will be geo-targeted, offering the ability for local ads and content to be more relevant to each individual user.
To date, ABC affiliates covering 80% of the country, including all major affiliate groups as well as the ten ABC owned stations, have launched or have committed to launching the player on their own websites and are taking advantage of the opportunity to incorporate local advertising into the programming.
�We are excited to see that research continues to support two of our original hypotheses. First, it again confirms making episodes available online results in additive viewing opportunities for consumers and is not cannibalizing linear network viewership,� said Albert Cheng, executive vice president, Digital Media, Disney-ABC Television Group. �Secondly, users have an extremely positive response to the interactive advertising on ABC.com. It has been part of our strategy to conceive and demonstrate a new advertising model on the web with 30-second countdown clocks, interactive ad containers, pause ads and other future innovations that help our advertisers and maintain a quality consumer experience. We are pleased to see advertisers embracing this strategy and working with us to create interactive ads that engage consumers and maximize the potential the platform has to offer.�
Since the broadband player launched as a permanent feature on ABC.com in September 2006, over 50 million episodes of ABC primetime series have been initiated by users. Based on new research conducted for ABC by Frank N. Magid Associates late last year, the broadband player continues to attracted a young, highly educated audience; the average age of users was 28, and more than half were college graduates. In general, users of the ABC.com broadband player skew female, mirroring the linear network�s audience.
Among those surveyed, 77% watched online because they had missed a particular episode on television and were looking to catch up. Viewing generally occurs within the first 24 hours of an episode�s broadcast on ABC, with online viewing peaking at 10:00 p.m., ET/ 7:00 p.m., PT. The majority of users viewed from home (76%), with 57% using a desktop computer and 43% a laptop.
On average, 84% of users surveyed were able to recall the advertiser who sponsored the episode they viewed. Users surveyed embraced the interactive advertising, with almost 50% rating the advertising experience as �excellent� and approximately one-third describing the featured advertisements as �entertaining� and �informative.� Users surveyed gave especially high marks to �entertainment� category sponsors, as well as sponsors whose ads contained the multiple opportunities for interaction including games, product demos and coupon offers.
ABC.com�s broadband player currently offers full-length episodes of �Desperate Housewives,� �Grey�s Anatomy,� �Lost,� �Ugly Betty,� �Brothers & Sisters,� �MEN IN TREES,� �Six Degrees,� �What About Brian,� �The Knights of Prosperity� and �According to Jim� free to consumers on ABC�s website the day after their broadcast premieres. Additionally, the entire season, including previously untelevised episodes of �Day Break,� are offered.
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 and A&E Television Networks.