ABC Leads The Ad-Supported Way
from the desperate-lost-grey-housewives dept
Last month, ABC said it planned to offer ad-supported versions of its shows on its web site, and it's now offering more details: a new version of ABC.com will launch April 30, featuring episodes of several popular shows that users can watch online. They'll be able to pause, fast-forward and rewind -- but won't be able to skip the three built-in ad breaks. They will, however, be able to choose if they want to see a normal video ad, or a more interactive one, like a game. Shows will be available the morning after they've aired, and eventually ABC will store archives of episodes so users can watch an entire season. This sounds like a pretty solid plan (despite some miggling faults), and ABC deserves some kudos for being the first to step into the breach. Of course, some stakeholders will get upset, like retailers concerned about the service undermining DVD sales. But those worries are unfounded. ABC is just grabbing the low-hanging fruit, essentially translating their broadcast content to the web. By adding additional services -- like the removal of ads on DVD versions, or formatting the content for portable devices -- there's still a market for paid content. What ABC is doing, and rightly so, is offering consumers the choice of how they want to receive content, and how it should be paid for, either by purchase, or by advertising.