You've probably already seen the announcement, but Disney plans to offer many TV shows for free on the web. Literally, this is the BIG news of the day, even making the front page of the Newark Star Ledger. There are a ton of articles out there including The Wall Street Journal's Disney's Web Move Shakes Up Decades-Old TV Model, Ad Age's ABC Readies Non-Skippable Online Video Commercials, and MediaPost's Disney Launches New Site. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Disney gained 26 cents, or nearly 1%, to $27.79 and wrote "the test marks the first time a broadcast network has made multiple prime-time shows available free online to consumers." Wow, this is pretty exciting, isn't it?
You can read the articles for yourself and draw your own conclusions, but let me point out a few interesting factoids found in the above:
- The ads will not be skippable and will be specifically designed for the web
- The shows will be available for free the day after they air on TV
- The shows don't appear to be available for download devices so people that want to watch them on their iPOD will still have to pay a fee up to $1.99 per show.
- People that miss their favorite shows (and who don't have a DVR) can catch them on the web for free
- According to Albert Chen, EVP of Disney-ABC TV Group, technologies for moving video between PCs and TVs are still too complicated. "We can certainly provide the content, but at the end of the day it's about how to make it easy for consumers."
In the same Wall Street Journal from today, there was another article called Sony, Samsung Bet Big on LCD-TV Demand that you probably missed, but thank goodness, yours truly found it for you. The article talks about how Samsung and Sony are betting that the market for big TV (more than 40 inches) will grow sharply. Big TVs, HDTV, etc are hot consumer electronics right?
Hmmm - let me throw a little cold water on the BIG Disney announcement. The TV shows and commercials will be retro-fitted for the web, but the Sonys of the world are building bigger and higher quality TV. Doesn't something have to give here? (TV reference - I'm in this contest and something has to give, right)
You know what I think? This is all about the last few feet to the TV box and until someone figures out how to get great quality internet broadcasts on those big fancy beautiful TVs, this will be confined to mobile viewers. Sure, if you are traveling or stuck in an airport or a long boring meeting, you can catch your show on your laptop.
Personally, I'm betting that until you can get that last few feet to the TV set issue solved, this is all about shrinkage. When I'm home, I have my BIG TV set with a DVR and when I'm traveling I have the small screen. Anything in between is just a waste of time for now. Enjoy the big announcement, at least someone is trying to move in the right direction.