British Telecom, Disney to launch ABC On-Demand in U.K.

No doubt the economists and regulators sitting down to discuss Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBC Universal acquisition are chewing on the fact that the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) has entered into an agreement with British Telecom's BT Vision IPTV service to launch "ABC TV On-Demand" starting Sept. 15.

The service will ostensibly--and as far as can be determined at this point, freely--deliver popular ABC programs like Cougar Town (go figure), Desperate Housewives (past their prime) and Brothers & Sisters to BT Vision customers after their first U.K. linear TV showing as part of the BT Vision TV Pack which lists for £6.99 a month. BT Vision subscribers who don't take the TV Pack can get individual programs for 99 pence.

BT Vision will also stockpile and make available older ABC programming.

"The ABC On-Demand launch on BT vision is likely to be a test case for Disney," wrote Richard Broughton in Screen Digest. Economically speaking, he said, he might be a precursor for further moves in Europe since the launch of a linear channel is "a significant investment" while a VoD offering "is a lower investment and less likely to have a negative effect on existing revenue streams."

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