ABC is set to build a paywall around its programming, much like Fox already has done, according to a published report.
Fox on Monday put its paywall into effect, making users of Fox.com and Hulu wait eight days to watch episodes of current shows instead of the one day they previously were delayed.
The broadcaster, worried that the availability of the shows online would cut into its advertising revenues, now makes the shows available only to subscribers of Hulu Plus and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), although it had believed, when it announced the plan last month, that other service providers would opt to include the Fox TV Everywhere offerings. So far, only Dish has taken the plunge.
AllThingsDigital, citing unnamed sources "familiar" with ABC's plans, said the network, owned by Disney (NYSE: DIS), soon would join Fox in establishing its own TV Everywhere play.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, asked during the company's earnings call about its digital strategy, said Disney wanted to increase revenue from its programming, but not at a cost to its distribution partners.
"We're looking at deals that are largely library in nature, meaning very little if any content that would be in season, mostly prior season. But also, trying to build into at least some of these deals, some form of authentication, [that] ... will allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window, if the customer is a multichannel subscriber," he said. "We'll basically push the window back or make access to the programming more difficult or later, except if customers are authenticated as a subscriber."
Fox this week began actively campaigning to entice other pay-TV operators, hoping that fans of the network will put enough pressure on providers to push them to sign up. New episodes are locked on the Fox website and viewers are directed to fill out a form that Fox indicates will be sent to the service provider in their area.
The form includes this message from Fox: "Frustrated? Join your fellow subscribers and let your TV provider know that you want access to all full episodes on Fox.com. We will send an email when your provider's status changes."
According to reports, Fox is "in talks with pay-TV operators about the service."
- see this AllThingsD report
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