ABC affiliates join online streaming program

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – ABC is getting some of its affiliated stations on board its two-month trial of streaming shows online, including “Lost.”

Disney-ABC Television Group said Friday the Web sites of outlets in Dallas, Orlando, Milwaukee and Knoxville, Tenn., have begun linking to http://www.ABC.com, which is making free advertising-supported episodes of such series as “Desperate Housewives” and “Commander in Chief” available online from May 1-June 30.

A fifth station, ABC-owned KABC in Los Angeles, also is participating.

The move comes as ABC’s expansion into several digital formats has drawn grumbles from its affiliate body about pulling viewers away from local television. ABC Media Networks co-chair Anne Sweeney has argued that such experiments help affiliates.

“Having these affiliates participate in, and share research from, this experiment will help us to best determine a successful model for all of our businesses as they continue to evolve,” ABC senior vp affiliate relations John Rouse said.

The arrangement represents the first public sign of cooperation between ABC and its affiliates. Last month, Fox Broadcasting Co. struck a deal with its entire affiliate body setting aside a portion of revenue from digital platforms.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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