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@ CES: Disney’s Anne Sweeney: ‘Can’t Just Build It And Hope Viewers Come’

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imageThe ABC.com episode player has delivered more than a half-billion episodes and a billion ads while ABC and Disney (NYSE: DIS) have sold “tens of millions” of episodes through iTunes, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney-ABC Television Group, said during an Industry Insider session at CES this afternoon.

The numbers came along with an early Valentine to Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) (with iTunes’ Eddy Cue sitting in the audience), as Sweeney talked about the value of a simple user experience after showing screenshots of the way she uses her own iPhone: “We can’t just build it and hope viewers will come. … One of the reasons so many of us have iPhones and iPods is because Apple gets this fundamental fact. The user interface is intuitive.” The two companies have close ties: Steve Jobs is on the Disney board and Disney was the launch tenant in the iTunes video store. Sweeney referred back to that decision: “We upset a lot of people but it was a new way to give consumers what they wanted.”

Lots more after the jump

When I went back to check the iTunes video launch date, it was almost a shock to realize we’re more than two years into the portable video download era. Sweeney came at it a little differently: “It

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