ABC.com streaming trial provides Disney with consumer insights

US media conglomerate Disney-ABC Television Group has announced key findings from its ABC.com streaming video trial.

The two-month-long trial this year offered ad-supported, full-length episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Commander in Chief and Alias. This marked the first time a channel made multiple series available for viewing online, free of charge to consumers. 10 US advertisers including AT&T, Cingular and Ford took part in the test.

In May and June, ABC.com’s broadband player served over 5.7 million episode requests, totaling 16 million video streams. Based on survey research conducted for ABC by Frank N. Magid Associates during the trial, 79 per cent of those surveyed had a positive online viewing experience and 87 per cent responded that they were likely to recommend the site to others.

The broadband player attracted a young, highly educated audience. The average age of users was 29, and more than half were college graduates. Users of the broadband player were almost equally split between males (47%) and females (53 per cent).

The majority of online viewing for episodes occurred within the first 24 hours of their broadcast on ABC. Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed watched complete episodes, with partial viewing of episodes occurring mainly because viewers had already seen the episode on TV or were interrupted. The majority of users viewed from home, using a desktop computer. The number one reason given for viewing online was because users had missed the episode on TV.

On average, 87 per cent of users surveyed were able to recall the advertiser who sponsored the episode they viewed. Those viewers embraced the interactive advertising, with over 50 per cent rating the advertising experience positively and 84 per cent believing that they were getting a great deal by being able to watch the episode online for free in exchange for watching the ads.

Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney says, “The launch of ABC.com’s broadband player was a huge step for us as we strategically reposition our websites from marketing tools to rich entertainment platforms. The research that has come out of the trial helped prove true several hypotheses regarding our consumers and their online viewing patterns.

“With the data we have collected, we are better equipped to move forward with our advertisers and affiliates to create new multiplatform opportunities for our consumers.”

Disney-ABC Television Group executive VP, digital media Albert Cheng says, “The research we gathered from this trial has been invaluable as we move forward with next phase of the broadband player. We have been extremely pleased with the consumer feedback from the trial, and are busy working on some minor adjustments to the broadband player in order to again make full episodes available to consumers this fall. When we relaunch, the basic concept of ad-supported, free to the consumer full-length episodes will return along with some added features to enhance the consumer experience.”

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