COMING TO A DISNEY STORE: ABC NETWORK, STATION GOODS?

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ABC is exploring the possibility of selling network- and affiliate-related merchandise in Disney Stores, a sister operation with the merger of Walt Disney Co. and Capital Cities/ABC.

"The affiliates love the idea of having shirts and caps with the local station logos in the local Disney stores," said one TV group executive.

Robert Wussler, president-CEO of NewVenco, the organization formed by ABC and the affiliates to start business ventures, confirmed that is one of three major projects being considering.

Sister cable network ESPN also would like the Disney retail outlets to start carrying its merchandise.

"The question Disney is debating is whether they want to dilute the purity of the Disney brand by carrying these other things," said one person close to the merchandising proposals. "If the local ABC affiliate .*.*. is known for showing bloody car crashes on its news all the time, is that something you want associated with the Disney Store?"

Mr. Wussler also confirmed that NewVenco is looking at a venture where the affiliates would participate in an infomercial business, with the infomercials airing nationally on late-night or weekends.

A third project, called the Woman's Health Alliance, should be ready for testing on stations later this year, Mr. Wussler said. Affiliates would periodically show vignettes on their newscasts relating to women's health issues.

In conjunction with some advertisers, women viewers would be encouraged to join the Alliance and get books, videotapes and other educational material on an ongoing basis.

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