CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- The ABC Television Network's online streaming of such shows as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" helped grow the audience for those programs, rather than merely cannibalize television viewers, a Walt Disney Co. executive said Wednesday. Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney's Media Networks unit and president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, said that most viewers of "Housewives" and "Lost" only see about six episodes per season, missing the others for various reasons. Most people who downloaded streams of the programs on ABC.com said they did so because they had missed the televised episodes. By offering the shows, ABC is able to reach otherwise displaced viewers, Sweeney said during a presentation at the annual Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment Conference in New York. ABC plans to expand its streaming efforts in the new TV season.