Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Disney to Offer Some ABC Shows Free on the Web

I read a story in the Wall Street Journal today that I thought was pretty big.

Turns out the mouse is going cutting-edge! They are going to offer their TV content free! Well, you're going to have to sit through commercials you can't skip, but still, this is a huge step forward. They are going to put hit shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" on their websites for FREE! Whoa.

Think of the implications. The pay-per-view and video-on-demand businesses, much ballyhooed to be the next big things are now kind of thrown on their sides. Although iTunes is safe for now because people can't easily download the content on to their portable devices, someone will eventually figure it out. Pirated file sharing of those programs won't really be necessary and Tivo won't be the only way to catch your favorite shows the morning after (also changing the impact of the DVR on commercial watching).

What are other potential implications? Will it hurt DVD sales? Will it hurt rerun watching? I don't think it will, at least in the short-term. As the downloadable movie business has taught us, people still aren't very comfortable watching video on screens other than their TV.

Anyway, I'm just rambling because it's late, but I thought this was really interesting stuff. Just think, today it's ABC, but tomorrow, because of the competitive factors, it maybe all networks, maybe some cable channels, maybe ALL channels! Who knows? Like I said, this is huge.

What do you think? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?


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