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10/24/2005
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Disney Scrambles For More Video iPod Content

The company didn't provide specifics, but said that mobile content will be key to future growth for Disney ABC Television Group.

Delivering "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" television show content to wireless and mobile devices such as Apple Computer's video iPod may be only the beginning for the Disney ABC Television Group.

The future growth for the division will come from delivering media content on mobile devices, said Albert Chang, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney ABC Television Group. He spoke Monday at the Yankee Group Mobile Entertainment Summit in San Diego.

Chang recently stepped into a newly created position whose role is linked to Disney's initiative on digital media. "My focus is to build a business based on wireless, video in-demand, broadband, interactive television, and other electronically distributive devices and content," he told TechWeb. "We expect our mobile video subscriber business to reach 14 million in 2009, up from about 200,000 today."

That growth will come, in part, from the deal Disney struck with Apple to offer downloadable content for television shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives." While Apple's video iPod only began shipping last week, Disney already has plans in place to expand available content early next year

A major issue slowing Disney and other studios from preparing television content for distribution on mobile devices regards intellectual property rights. In the past, contracts for content typically have been limited to television broadcasting. Holding up the process, in part, is getting legal rights clearances from musicians, actors, writers and other people involved in creating the original content, Chang said.

"That's one of the reason you don't see a lot of content for wireless devices right now," he said. "We own the shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" from beginning to end of production, so now when we know a show will be good we negotiate ahead of time to clear distribution on all platforms."

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