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Disney Says NewTeeVee Helps OldTeeVee

Disney Media Networks co-chair and Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney said that the TV content ABC puts online actually helps drive people back to traditional television.

Speaking at an American Association of Advertising Agencies conference, Sweeney said that viewers who watch TV shows online and then jump back to oldteevee are younger than the average TV network viewer and pay more attention to the ads. In the first 18 weeks of this current TV season, viewers watched more than 124 million episodes through the ABC.com player, a 178 percent increase over the previous year.

While vague on details, these findings augment an earlier study released by rival network NBC earlier this week that found 77 percent of its audience was watching full episodes online as a complement to their TV watching. Both studies found higher ad recall for online audiences, but as an astute NTV commenter pointed out, that’s not hard when you watch the identical commercial multiple times in one show.

Meanwhile, at a Disney shareholder meeting yesterday, chief exec Robert Iger said the mouse house will make more of its classic TV shows available through Disney.com either for free or through subscription. Iger didn’t mention which shows would make the migration and only offered an “in the near future” timeline — but this move, too follows in the footsteps of both CBS and NBC, which are resurrecting TV relics like Star Trek and The A-Team for renewed life on the Web.

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