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Disney Bows to Changing TV Viewing Behavior

by Michael Goodman | Mar 02, 2016

Despite the growth of TV Everywhere, on-demand viewing, and OTT video, TV networks have worked diligently to protect their “cash cow” – the linear TV network. But cracks are appearing in their resolve. In recognition of changing consumer viewing behavior, particularly kids and teens, The Walt Disney Co. announced they are changing their video-on-demand (VOD) windowing strategy for Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD.  Effective March 1st new episodes of shows on these channels will be available on all platforms the same day they premiere on the linear networks.  Previously, shows weren’t available on VOD or the Watch Disney apps until the day after their linear channel debut. This move will have a number of ramifications for Disney.

  • Simultaneous availability will accelerate the decline of Disney’s linear channels. A significant bulwark against the decline of linear TV was that the networks got shows first. This will no longer be the case for the Disney Channels.
  • This will have a potential negatively impact Disney’s ad revenue in the mid to long-term. If viewers watch programming on a different platform within 3 days of its initial airing then there will be little to no impact on Disney’s ad revenue (at least in the US), so long as the ad load remains the same across all platforms. However, if training viewers to watch on-demand causes viewing to shift beyond this window it will negatively impact Disney’s ad revenue.

Kids and teens are already big time shifters, so in many ways this move makes sense for Disney. It remains to be seen if any other programmers will follow suit. You know they will be watching closely.

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