Disney exec sees continued growth in online video distribution

The plethora of emerged and emerging mobile devices capable of receiving and displaying online video is "clearly the biggest opportunity" for video consumption growth today and the best way to take advantage of Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) ABC Networks and YouTube properties, Disney Media Networks co-chair and Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney said during a Royal Television Society conference, "When Worlds Collide: Beyond the Digital Looking Glass."

While conceding that "change can be scary," Sweeney said Disney is going to aggressively push content to new digital platforms and find new ways to access programming, according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter.

Among the online video platforms Disney is using are Hulu, of which the company owns a piece, YouTube and the ABC Networks. While some have questioned Hulu's ongoing direction, Sweeney defended the Mouse Company's reasoning for buying into the online video distributor as "an opportunity to broaden our audience for ABC content" because "Hulu was getting a broader, more diverse audience."

Also getting a broader, more diverse audience is a non-Disney property, YouTube, which Sweeney called "incredibly useful" in cultivating new audiences. She cited ABC late-nighter Jimmy Kimmel, who uses it to build his audience.

The traditional ABC broadcast network itself is into online video distribution in a big way, with an ABC player app for Apple that has been downloaded 6.5 million times and attracted 135 million views, the story said.

That app is on the point of an initiative to take advantage of a digital shift that, Sweeney said, "recharacterizes the whole idea of a television network," adding, "[t]he value of the television network is partly tradition, serving as a navigation device and as a brand. Research shows that people do know and understand ABC as a brand."

For more:
- see this story in the Hollywood Reporter

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