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Disney Invites Affiliates to Join Exploration of New Business Models

Apr 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Without offering a specific roadmap or details, Disney’s Anne Sweeney invited local broadcast affiliates to work together with ABC to explore new business models, a message designed to smooth over the ill will Disney created when it cut affiliates out of its iTunes deal this past fall.

“The move did not endear us to many of you in the room,” acknowledged Ms. Sweeney, the co-chair of Disney-Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, addressing a luncheon session at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention on Tuesday afternoon. “But it had to be done. We learned from the music industry consumers go elsewhere and they cut us out of the equation. … We are determined not to repeat their mistakes.”

She added that ABC wants to work with its affiliates to devise new businesses. “Together we should examine new options as ways to expand our business. … We will continue our aggressive push forward and welcome our partners to work with us to find models that work for our business. We are in this together.”

Still, ABC has a ways to go in smoothing the rift with affiliates, which have privately expressed throughout the conference their frustration in being cut out of such deals.

She also spoke about the additive effect of new platforms. Last season the average TV viewer only saw six episodes of “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” on TV. “Those numbers indicated there is a huge opportunity for those of us willing to see those viewers out and make content available for them,” she said.