Disney's ABC is developing an online platform, My ABC, that will offer ad-supported downloads of hit shows like "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Desperate Housewives." Disney President and CEO Bob Iger discussed his plans for the "network of the future" at the Bear Stearns Media Conference this week.
Expected to launch in May, My ABC will offer four episodes of each ad-supported program free to consumers. Already, the company offers a number of its programs for download in Apple's iTunes music store, charging $1.99 per episode.
"The advertising that will be in these shows [on My ABC] will not necessarily be the same advertising -- it's a secondary buy -- that appeared on the networks initially," said Iger.
Iger didn't elaborate on the advertising formats that would be employed on My ABC. The company could offer pre-roll or in-stream video ads, or it could offer Ultramercial-style full-screen opportunities. ABC is already testing Ultramercial's day pass product for its ABC News Now product.
Whatever the format, Iger said the company is committed to providing new opportunities for advertisers as it makes changes to accommodate shifts in consumer usage patterns.
"It's too early to count advertising out because there's so much new consumption in media, thanks to new technologies, than ever before, that there are actually more opportunities for advertisers," Iger said. "Just look at what Google has done, for instance."
As for ABC's relationships with the likes of Google and Yahoo, Iger acknowledged that they're competing for viewers, but said he sees ways the companies can benefit one another.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.