Disney Media Networks combines high-quality content with strategic use of traditional and emerging distribution platforms to deliver compelling news and entertainment viewing experiences to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The strength of the programming creates opportunities to build franchises across the Company, and a "platform-agnostic" distribution strategy, using broadcast, cable, satellite, internet, broadband and wireless platforms, creates new ways of reaching consumers and building revenues. (Click here to watch video)
In 2009, the Company’s news and entertainment television businesses continued their strong presence among virtually every target audience.
In the U.S., broadcast networks continue to reach the largest audiences on television, and in 2009 viewers tuned to ABC Television Network for the best in journalism, daytime drama, primetime entertainment and late-night laughs. They also followed that content across multiple platforms, including video-on-demand, online, wireless and cable, for a personalized viewing experience.
To ensure that our television business is even more relevant and valuable to both viewers and advertisers in this rapidly evolving digital age, the Company made some noteworthy strategic investments in 2009, including taking an equity stake in video aggregation site Hulu. The Company also opened the Disney Media and Advertising Lab, a state-of-the-art audience research facility in Austin, Texas, to work with advertisers to create innovative approaches to delivering their message for maximum, measurable results on all platforms.TRUSTWORTHY, COMPELLING NEWS
From big newsmaker interviews to high-impact documentaries, the award-winning team of ABC News (Click here to watch video) anchors, correspondents and producers continues to create compelling programming with the highest journalistic standards. In 2009, Good Morning America — with Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion — was recognized with a third consecutive Daytime Emmy® for Outstanding Morning Program. Meanwhile, World News with Charles Gibson continued to bring the news of the day to millions of Americans; This Week with George Stephanopoulos battled for first place among Sunday morning news shows; and Nightline surged past its broadcast competition in summer ratings. Online, ABCNews.com strengthened its connection with users, achieving year-over-year increases in both viewer engagement and loyalty.
A year of headline-grabbing guests helped daytime talk show The View (Click here to watch video) achieve its highest-rated season ever. The show’s hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd were also recognized with their first Daytime Emmy. ABC also continued to lead daytime drama among women (25-54).GREAT SHOWS = PRIMETIME RESULTS
In 2009, ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment were combined under the operating name ABC Entertainment Group to develop and produce programming for ABC and other outlets. Some of the most successful, talked-about series on television today belong to the ABC Entertainment Group, including 18 series produced by the Studio for the 2009-10 season for ABC and other broadcast and cable networks.
ABC’s primetime (Click here to watch video) line-up finished the 2008-09 season as the number one choice among upscale entertainment audiences. The network’s strong performance was driven by the continued popularity of iconic programming, including scripted series Desperate Housewives, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters, as well as reality favorites Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Dancing with the Stars. In addition to the millions of viewers who watched these shows live, with the proliferation of digital video recorders, ABC also had some of the most recorded series of the season, including Grey’s Anatomy, which was recorded and played back by more people than any other TV series in the 2008-09 season.
ABC’s primetime schedule for 2009-10 added a number of highly anticipated new series to the mix, including critically acclaimed dramas FlashForward and V, as well as comedies The Middle, Cougar Town and the season’s breakout comedy hit, Modern Family.
Driven by the mix of these highly rated new shows and strong returning series, the network achieved a solid start in the 2009-10 TV season. Seven weeks into the new season, ABC had delivered two of the four most-watched television programs overall, Dancing with the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy. Among the key audience (adults 18-49) ABC claimed three of the top five highest-rated scripted series: Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and newcomer V. The network also connected with young adults, airing four of the top six new TV shows for the season among this audience, including V, Modern Family, Cougar Town and FlashForward. The sci-fi drama V took top honors as TV’s number one freshman series with adults (18-49), while Modern Family and Cougar Town emerged as the season’s top two most-watched new comedies among all viewers. Over this same period of time, ABC was the number one network for entertainment programming among adults (18-49) and retained its status as the leader with upscale audiences for its series programming for the fifth consecutive year.
ABC.com’s full episode video player continued to be the platform of choice for online viewers looking for ABC content. The site delivered more than 200 million episodes during the 2008-09 season. Meanwhile, ABC Music Lounge.com, a new digital platform showcasing artists featured on ABC’s shows, offered fans a deep catalog of music-related content, giving them a place to connect with the music they discover on ABC.
The ABC Television Network reaches millions of Americans on more than 200 affiliated stations. This includes the ABC-Owned Television Stations Group’s 10 properties: WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, KFSN-TV Fresno, WJRT-TV Flint and WTVG-TV Toledo. All are strong performers recognized for their commitment to local news and community programming, with eight ranking number one in their markets, sign-on to sign-off, during A.C. Nielsen ratings sweeps during the year.
Each ABC-owned station has three digital channels. The main channel provides local, ABC Television Network, and syndicated programming. Live Well HD Network, which debuted in April 2009 in high definition, offers lifestyle series primarily produced by the stations. A third presents weather reports powered by AccuWeather, with news and sports headlines.
The stations’ 10 local Web sites together attract nearly seven million unique users monthly and offer mobile video and text services in each market. The popular syndicated series, LIVE! with Regis and Kelly and At the Movies originate at ABC-owned New York and Chicago stations, respectively. In addition, the Group’s National Television Sales unit expanded its clientele as an advertising representative for regional sports networks and out-of-home media properties.
ABC Media Productions (formerly Buena Vista Productions) develops and produces non-scripted original programming for syndication, cable and primetime outlets. In 2009, the unit’s production slate included Southern Belles: Louisville and Holidate for SOAPnet, as well as Cha$e for Syfy, Stringers for TruTV and Making Over America with Trinny and Susannah for TLC. ABC Media Productions also oversees the production of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.GROWING DISTRIBUTION
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (DADT) licenses all of Disney’s television programming (off-network hits as well as first-run syndication series such as Legend of the Seeker) and motion pictures to a wide array of media platforms in the U.S. In 2009, DADT and Netflix teamed to provide select seasons of several ABC series to be streamed instantly by Netflix subscribers. In addition to licensing films from The Walt Disney Studios library to a wide spectrum of traditional and new media platforms such as iTunes, Xbox, Playstation and TiVo, DADT also launched Disney Family Movies, a subscription video-on-demand service available through multiple U.S. content providers.
Disney Media Networks’ international distribution arm includes Disney-ABC-ESPN Television (DAET), Disney-ABC International Television (Asia Pacific) and Disney Media Networks Distribution (Latin America). Collectively, these businesses are responsible for the Company’s branded and non-branded international program distribution, distributing content to television broadcasters and digital media platforms across 240 territories worldwide and licensing programming from The Walt Disney Company’s television and film studios.
Using new distribution technologies, the group has dramatically reduced the time needed for content delivery. In 2009, FlashForward became the fastest-selling television series in the Company’s history, reaching international screens within days after its U.S. broadcast, eliminating the traditional delay of months or years. The Company’s international distribution strategy is focused on providing users viewing options that are easy to access and convenient, bringing short-form and full-length programming to broadband, video-on-demand and mobile devices around the world.
The international group also licenses localized versions of popular franchise series to expand the brand and create more long-term value for the Company. A localized version of Grey’s Anatomy is currently in production in Colombia and scheduled to debut in Latin America and U.S. Hispanic markets in 2010. Localized versions of The Golden Girls and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire are also in production for the same markets.BEST SELLERS
Cooperation among the Company’s media networks, studios and distribution networks extends to the Hyperion publishing group. Author Mitch Albom launched his newest book, Have a Little Faith, with an exclusive interview on ABC News’ Good Morning America, and it instantly became a number one New York Times best-seller. Heat Wave, a novel based on ABC’s Castle, was incorporated into the series’ storyline and landed on the New York Times best-seller list as well. The network also supported Michael J. Fox’s best-selling non-fiction book, Always Looking Up, with an hour-long network primetime special. Hyperion’s number one best-selling cookbook, Cook Yourself Thin, also had ties to the Company’s TV portfolio. It was based on a reality show on Lifetime, part of A&E Television Networks, in which The Walt Disney Company has an equity stake.
Disney Media Networks includes a broad portfolio of businesses that deliver content in a myriad of ways — from broadcast to the printed page and across all technologies — to virtually every demographic and target audience in the world. From preschoolers to adults, the Company continues to deliver high quality, iconic, creative content and memorable entertainment experiences.