Disney-ABC TV Group announced today it will offer ad-supported, full-length episodes of several of its prime-time shows online beginning Saturday, September 23. The network reached an agreement with affiliates that lets them participate in the initiative with local Web ad sales, branding opportunities, and Web links.
Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Six Degrees, Ugly Betty, The Knights of Prosperity, and The Nine will all be available on ABC.com. The shows will hit the ABC Web site the day after they air on TV.
Special programs will also be created to help newcomers keep up with what they missed on Lost, Housewives, and Grey's.
In May, ABC began offering its shows on its Web site, and during May and June, the broadband player served over 16 million video streams.
"This new arrangement provides a mutually beneficial framework as the industry evolves," said John Rouse, senior vice president of affiliate relations at ABC Television Network. "It is further proof of the dedication the network and our affiliates have to working together in unique and inventive ways to create new opportunities that build all of our businesses."
Today, the network also announced a partnership with Apple wherein the two companies will give away free downloads at Apple's online iTunes music store. From September 14 through October 4, the "Million Hit Lowdown" promotion will offer the last season's finales of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Lost. Additionally, episodes of Grey's Anatomy will be available on iTunes beginning in September.