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A TV Net Breakthrough, But…

Reuters: Disney to make TV shows available free on Web. Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Television will offer some of its most popular shows, such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” for free on the Internet in a two-month trial, the company said on Monday. Advertising revenue will support the trial run on, with advertisers AT&T Inc., Ford Motor Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and Universal Pictures already signed up.

This is an extremely big deal if ABC keeps the experiment going and modifies the model a bit. The force-fed advertising won’t fly, ultimately, because viewers just won’t want it. (I’d imagine that employers are not going to be thrilled, not if people in cubicles start spending parts of the day watching TV episodes.)

It is impossible to imagine the previous regime at Disney letting this happen. Robert Iger, the new CEO, is plainly a different breed — and he deserves some kudos for pushing the broadcast envelope.

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