Disney-ABC exec says online offering fights piracy
LAS VEGAS, April 25 (Reuters) - The ABC television network's decision to sell its content online, while angering affiliates, was aimed at preventing piracy from eroding the broadcasting business, a senior network executive said on Tuesday.
ABC, owned by Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N: Quote
), sells some of its shows on iTunes and will soon experiment with offering popular shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" free on the Internet, supported by advertising.
Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney admitted the iTunes move "did not endear us" to local station affiliates but said thousands of illegal copies of hit shows were being downloaded hours after broadcast in a rapidly growing trend.
"It's actually becoming common for programming in the U.S. to be captured real time and the East Coast broadcast is put online for anyone in the world to see before the same show airs on the West Coast," she said at the National Association of Broadcasters' annual convention in Las Vegas.