LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Walt Disney Co's ABC television network and Warner Bros announced an experimental deal on Thursday for four Warner-produced ABC shows to appear on ABC's Web-based broadband media player.
ABC already makes several shows from its own production arm, ABC Studios, available for free to viewers on the ad- supported broadband player.
Since its launch in September 2006, the player has streamed all or part of 134 million episodes, ABC data shows. ABC was the first broadcast network to offer its prime time shows for free on the ad-supported player.
The network will sell ads and keep the revenue for the Warner hits, "Men in Trees" and "Notes from the Underbelly" and new shows "Big Shots" and "Pushing Daisies," which all appear on ABC.
Jana Winograde, ABC Entertainment's executive vice president of business affairs, said consumer demand drove the network to seek an agreement with Warner Bros.
"They have come to expect it with serialized shows … that if they miss their favorite show that they can find it on abc.com," Winograde said.
In the second year of the agreement, Warner holds the rights to stream the previous year's shows to an unlimited number of Web outlets and may sell digital downloads and DVD box sets of those shows.
The episodes will carry ABC branding and will promote the network.
As with the ABC-produced shows, the Warner episodes will appear on abc.com the day after their broadcast premieres and will be available for online viewing for up to four weeks.
Warner Bros is a unit of Time Warner Inc. (Reporting by Gina Keating)