Commentary: The ABCs of video upheaval By Forrester Research
Special to CNET
April 12, 2006, 1:54PM PT

by Josh Bernoff

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Walt Disney has announced that starting April 30 it will make popular ABC shows including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" available for free on a Web site it controls. Shows will include ads that can't be skipped.
This is the start of a big trend; now networks, Web portals, cable operators and advertisers need to shift their strategies. Free TV on the Web will further weaken TV schedules and hasten networks' transition to multiple revenue streams.

ABC broke the TV/Web barrier when it put its prime-time shows on iTunes. But most consumers won't pay for shows they can get for free.

Meanwhile, the market for ads in online streaming video is exploding, with CPMs (cost per thousand viewings) moving upward from an already enviable $25. Recognizing the revenue opportunity, ABC has now defined the role of streaming video in network strategy: to expand audiences beyond the regular TV schedule. The rest of the TV industry must react in the following ways: