Also to be announced at the Cable Show on Tuesday: Disney’s two big TV networks, ABC and ESPN, are launching free, ad-supported VOD of hit shows and football games on cable operator Cox Communications’ service, but with the unusual condition that Cox disables the fast-forward feature that allows viewers to skip ads, WSJ reports. That will only apply to VOD, and subscribers can still tape broadcast shows on the regular DVR and fast forward. Cox is U.S.’s third largest cable operator, after Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
The ABC shows episodes will be available 12 hours after they premiere on ABC. ESPN will chip in a package of college football games…the amount of ads in these VOD shows are still being worked out, but could be less than in regular broadcasts, the story says. Also, Cox will likely get one 15-second commercial per episode to pitch its own products. The remainder of the spots will be a mix of national ads sold by the Disney-ABC Television Group and local ads sold by ABC’s affiliated stations.
Also, the two companies will also test technology that will place ads in shows based on Zip Codes and geographic area, and be refreshed automatically based on when users watch the shows. The test will start in Orange County, Calif., where Cox has about 250,000 subscribers.