During May and June, viewers could catch episodes of "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Commander in Chief" and "Alias" for free by watching ads that can't be skipped. By June 20, the number of streams was at 11 million.
Seventy-nine percent of viewers had a positive experience, and 87% would recommend the ABC.com broadband site to others, according to research conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates for ABC. Eighty-seven percent were able to recall the featured advertiser, which included were AT&T, Cingular, Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble Co., Toyota Motor Sales USA, Unilever's Suave, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures.
Most episodes were viewed within 24 hours of the show's original broadcast, and the most cited answer for why they used web streaming was that they had missed it on TV. Roughly the same amount of men and women used the broadband player, and the average user age was 29.
"We have been extremely pleased with the consumer feedback from the trial, and are busy working on some minor adjustments to the broadband player in order to again make full episodes available to consumers this fall," Albert Cheng, exec VP-digital media, Disney-ABC Television Group, said in a release. "When we relaunch, the basic concept of ad-supported, free-to-the-consumer full-length episodes will return along with some added features to enhance the consumer experience."
It is still unclear which advertisers are returning when the streaming experiment returns this fall. However, a Unilever spokeswoman said: "We see the opportunity as a great way for us to test this model. ... It was a successful way for us to reach the Suave target in a different way. I think we're really pleased with the results, and we're looking into what opportunities may exist for us in the future with ABC video on demand."
The spokeswoman said the marketer was considering a return.
ABC's president of sales and marketing, Mike Shaw, said he had not sold the fall streaming shows during the upfront.