Soaps and Kids from Disney-ABC
Disney-ABC cable network SOAPnet will launch its broadband channel Soapnetic April 17. The site, which will be available initially to Verizon DSL customers only (the network is pursuing deals with other carriers), will feature recaps, sneak peeks and trivia for the nine current daytime dramas, as well as original short-form content, including mini-episodes of the network's Soapography series, one-minute soaps, awards-show coverage and premieres of linear network shows. Separately, Disney Channel's toddler-targeted Little Einsteins has landed at iTunes, along with several series from Toon Disney's action/adventure block Jetix. Other Disney-ABC kids shows, including That's So Raven and High School Musical, are already available at the music store for $1.99 each.
'Earth' and Beyond
Discovery Communications launched two broadband sites and a mobile broadcast channel last week, and became the first TV network to provide video to Google's satellite-imagery– based mapping application, Google Earth.
As of April 6, Google Earth users can view clips of national locations, beginning with footage from Discovery documentaries on 10 national parks. The free, ad-supported broadband sites, Discovery Channel Beyond and Travel Channel Beyond, launch April 15, with previews and extras from on-air programming. Viewers will be invited to create documentaries using Discovery footage. Discovery Mobile will launch later this year, with science- and nature-themed content packaged for cellphones.
Bravo and the mobile arm of PayPal, the online-payment company owned by eBay, will sell items from cooking reality show Top Chef through PayPal Mobile's “Text To Buy” feature. Bravo will begin hawking Top Chef aprons ($36) and towels ($29) with in-program prompts during the April 12 episode and through the rest of the season, and will promote the PayPal service with on-air spots during the program and online.
A new survey of 161 local TV stations shows that more than two-thirds of sales personnel feel unprepared for a multiplatform future. The survey, conducted in February by the Television Bureau of Advertising, found that only 30% believe they've been trained adequately. In response, TVB will offer a training session called “Television Goes Multiplatform” for sales managers and others at the TVB Conference on April 20 in New York City.