DisneyChannel.com today launches its broadband player with several of its more popular series, including "That's So Raven," "American Dragon: Jake Long" and "Kim Possible." The episodes are free, ad-supported and available in six languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and Hindi. Disney's brand of animated programming, Jetix, is also featuring full-length episodes on its site of such shows as "Power Rangers: Mystic Force." Viewers can also create their own playlists and e-mail them to friends.
Straightforward video ad model
Disney Channel on TV is sponsorship-based, but the online versions of the shows will follow a more straightforward online video advertising model, allowing marketers to stream full-length noninteractive pre-roll spots and have fixed display advertising. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Sony Pictures Entertainment are two of the initial sponsors.
The network plans to drive its TV viewers to the broadband offerings with online premieres of two "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" episodes. The broadband channels were created by Disney's Digital Media Group. A separate group, Disney Internet Group, launched last year a subscription-based children-targeted broadband channel called Playhouse Disney.
Rich Ross, president, Disney Channel Worldwide, said the impetus was to let children get to Disney Channel content however they wanted. And he knows how powerful online can be as a promotional vehicle. For example, earlier this year Walt Disney Records debuted the soundtrack from the Disney Channel TV movie "High School Musical" on iTunes, almost two weeks before the movie premiered. Users of the digital-music service called the movie "their favorite" on message boards based solely on the soundtrack. Ten days later "High School Musical" premiered to 7.7 million viewers (topping even Fox's "American Idol" with children aged 6 to 11).
Disney Channel isn't alone in trying to reach children on multiple screens. Viacom's Nickelodeon launched its own broadband channel last year, TurboNick. And just two months ago Cartoon Network launched an anime-themed broadband channel, Toonami Jetstream.
Ad recall on ABC.com
The DisneyChannel.com video player and ad model are different than what ABC.com employed in May as part of a two-month trial. The network is broadcasting full-length episodes of several of its programs on ABC.com, selling limited advertising within them. In the ABC.com offering, four 30-second ads, all from the same advertiser, run in each episode. Once an ad finishes airing, the viewer must click on it to return to viewing the program. So far ABC.com has served 11 million streams in 29 days and the model is resulting in 87% ad recall in internal research, according to a Disney spokeswoman.