Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks/President/Disney-ABC Television group oversees nearly everything the Disney Company does, and has been a leader in importing television content to digital platforms. In her AAAAs presentation, Thursday at the AAAAs, Sweeney noted that while the digital landscape is sometimes overwhelming, on thing that never changes within it all is the demand for good content.
She went on to explain how Disney-ABC has followed the consumer all along and has found many ways to bring content to their ever-changing viewing patterns and the platforms they’re using to consume media. And in many cases, they’ve found ways to drive consumers to other ad-supported platforms. They’re even making content deals with social networking sites.
She noted a few compelling facts about digital content consumption at Disney-ABC: Last year 140 million ad-supported ABC primetime TV episodes were watched on their ABC.com player; The first 18 weeks of last season, viewers watched 124 million primetime episodes—a 178% increase over the same period last year. They’ve seen similar patterns with Disney Channel and ABC Family online. And believe it or not, their research is showing that online viewing is actually encouraging TV viewing. They’ve also found that all demos are willing to accept online ads in exchange for free online content.
She said there are “4Cs” for the 4A’s are: 1) Consumers come first; 2) Content drives everything 3) Creativity is critical; and 4) Commit to change.
Under the Content Drives Everything category, she mentioned the launch of “Stage 9 Digital Media” last month, with online/mobile-only programming that includes the sci-fi thriller “Trenches”. She also noted Zenith Media maven Peggy Green as bringing in Toyota to sponsor Stage 9.
RBR/TVBR observation: In speaking with folks at the AAAAs we’re seeing another trend with digital viewing: The Millennial Generation is viewing programming “online only” more and more—skip the cable bill, keep the internet bill and watch all of the programs online. Why not? It should certainly be a wake-up call for networks who aren’t online streaming yet, as well as the MSOs that are charging 75 bucks a month for expanded basic cable.