Disney, Apple Partner to Offer Series Episodes as iTunes Downloads

Oct 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

In a move designed to bolster the company’s strategy to embrace digital technology, The Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with Apple Computer to offer episodes of popular ABC and Disney Channel television shows such as “Desperate Housewives” for download from Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

The announcement comes on the same day that Apple announced it is releasing a video version of its popular iPod portable music device, complete with a 2.5-inch color screen.

As part of the pact between Disney and Apple, consumers will pay $1.99 to download episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Night Stalker” from ABC, and Disney Channel programs “That’s So Raven” and “The Suite of Zack & Cody.” Episodes from past seasons will be immediately available, while new episodes from the current season will be available for download the day after they air on the network. The downloads will contain antipiracy technology that will prevent content from being downloaded onto to CDs or DVDs.

An ABC spokesman said the content will not feature commercials, and at present there are no plans to incorporate advertising into the content being offered through iTunes.

The move comes as Disney CEO Robert Iger presses ahead with plans to bring Disney into the digital age by embracing new distribution methods, such as the Internet, broadband and wireless services. The partnership comes against the backdrop of ABC’s latest affiliation agreement, which stipulates that ABC repurpose no more than 25 percent of its prime-time lineup.