ABC To Revamp Its Broadband Player

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ABC is revamping its broadband video player in the coming months, adding new genres of programming and types of advertising, as well as features designed to improve users' viewing experience.

Later this year, the player will expand from offering just entertainment programming to include national and local news and local entertainment. Since ABC launched the player in Sept. 2006, the network says it has hosted more than 50 million episode starts of its primetime series, 11 of which are currently offered through ad-supported streaming.

Starting this spring, the broadband player will expand to include two different screen sizes for viewing video. The player will add full-screen and mini-screen (240x136 pixels) options, in addition to still offering standard and larger sizes.

The new player will also feature dynamic bandwidth selection, which adjust bitrate to maximize viewing and will include a new "pause ad" feature. When viewers pause an episode, a static ad from the show's sponsor will stay on screen until they resume viewing. Some 84% users of the player were able to recall a show's sponsor, according to research from Frank N. Magid Associates and ABC.

The player will also begin incorporating "geo-targeting" technology, which works to match local ads to the most appropriate users. So far, ABC affiliates in 80% of the country have launched or said they will launch the player on their own websites.
Disney Media Networks co-chair Anne Sweeney announced the changes last week at the company's 2007 Investor Conference.