Following a successful two-month test of offering free, ad-supported, full-length TV episodes on the ABC.com broadband player, the Disney-ABC Television Group says it will expand the site this fall by adding new features and, according to sources, more series.
In May and June, ABC brought full-length episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Commander in Chief and Alias to the broadband player, marking the first time a broadcast network made multiple series available for free online viewing.
"We have been extremely pleased with the consumer feedback from the trial and are busy working on some minor adjustments to the broadband player in orger to again make full episodes available to consumers this fall," said Albert Cheng, exeutive VP of digital media for the group. "When we relaunch, the basic concept...will return along with some added features to enhance the consumer experience."
Research results from Frank N. Magid Associates released Thursday show the trial produced 5.7 million episode requests totaling 16 million video streams.
Magid said 79% of nearly 8,500 respondents reported having a positive online viewing experience and 87% said they were likely to recommend the site. The average age of the users, comprising 53% females and 47% males, was 29; half were college graduates.
The majority of online viewing for episodes occurred from home on desktop computers within the first 24 hours of their broadcast, mostly because they missed them on TV.
Two-thirds of respondents watched complete episodes, with partial viewing limited primarily to portions viewers had missed.
Of those surveyed, 87% of the respondents recalled the name of the sponsors. Ten national advertisers, representing mobile phones, household products, automotive, pharmaceutical and entertainment, took part in the trial.
Belo Corporation’s WFAA Dallas, Cox Broadcasting’s WFTV Orlando, Hearst-Argyle Television’s WISN Milwaukee and Young Broadcasting’s WATE Knoxville, along with ABC-owned KABC Los Angeles, featured promotional messages and links to the ABC.com player on their own websites.
Discussions with ABC affiliates are currently underway regarding their anticipated involvement with the project this fall.