Disney takes another leap to Web TV

ABC will offer several of its most popular programs for free on the Internet in a two-month trial
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ABC Television, the Walt Disney-owned network, took another aggressive move toward alternative television distribution last week by offering its top shows free on the Internet.

ABC will offer several of its most popular programs, including “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” for free on the Internet in a two-month trial.

The move will allow ABC to double dip in advertising — offering both TV commercials and online ads — for a single show. Revenue from spots will support the trial run on ABC.com, with advertisers AT&T, Ford, Procter & Gamble and Universal Pictures already signed up.

Viewers will be able to pause and move between chapters in an episode but will not be able to skip ads that are technically embedded, Reuters reported

Disney is also launching a high-speed Internet channel for soap opera fans, called Soapnetic, on April 17 for subscribers to Verizon Communications' Internet services.

ABC's plan is the first time a broadcast network will give away full-length hit prime-time TV shows on the Internet, the New York Times reported.

It is also an indication, the Times said, of the pressure networks are feeling from popular video-on-demand services that allow viewers to see TV shows and movies when they want.

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