ABC Affiliates Complain About ‘iPod’ Videos

    October 13, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Apple launched the video iPod, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has agreed to sell episodes of some ABC and Disney programming through iTunes.

Ad-free episodes of ABC programs Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Night Stalker will be available on iTunes 6 for $1.99 each. Two Disney programs, That’s So Raven and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, also can be purchased for download to the latest creation from Apple, the video iPod.

Episodes will be available on iTunes after they have been broadcast. The deal between Apple and Disney should be a positive one for TV fans. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity for consumers to stay or get connected to their favorite program,” Iger told reporters at a news conference.

Affiliates don’t seem to share that enthusiasm. USA Today has reported the response from some affiliates has been cool. “We have a lot of questions,” Young Broadcasting President Deb McDermott, a former head of the ABC Affiliates Board, said in the report. “We want to be sure it doesn’t affect over-the-air viewing.”

Time to get with the times, affiliates. As Comcast noted in a statement, people want media on their schedule, not someone else’s: “Networks are beginning to realize that the traditional television model is shifting dramatically, and consumers want to watch what they want, whenever they want.”

Add ‘wherever’ to that list. Further, Disney sees the deal as enhancing the popularity of hit shows, as one Disney executive said in the story, and even having the potential to bring in new fans.

The deal has been in the works since Steve Jobs called Iger with the idea. Wall Street analysts were reportedly surprised a deal could be arranged, due to the very public spat Pixar had with Disney over movie distribution terms.

Those disagreements were between Jobs and Michael Eisner, Iger’s predecessor as Disney CEO. Jobs and Iger, however, have probably been talking since May, and the two have publicly praised each other in the media. It looks like Wall Street didn’t make the connection here.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.