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Disney-ABC Impact on Digital Lifestyle Market

According to Parks Associates, the announcement by ABC and The Walt Disney Co. that they will offer TV programs for free from their Website is a large step forward for the adoption of IP video delivery.

It is also a boost to the role that the home computer will play in aggregating and displaying entertainment content, the projected growth of multimedia networks, and a shift in advertising toward a more targeted, user-focused means of delivery. The announcement immediately enhances the broadband-connected computer as an alternative entertainment hub in the home - further diminishing the hegemony of the traditional TV and set-top box pairing.

Video entertainment is increasingly a personal experience, with one person filling the "two-foot experience" with simultaneous instant messaging, e-mailing, Web surfing, and video viewing. For people who suppose that consumers will find the home computer an inferior entertainment platform, they have clearly not witnessed a teenager "consume" a Media Center PC, time slicing between its many functions.

These many capabilities, on the other hand, could take a large bite out of the time spent in front of the HDTV set in the living room. The fact that popular programming is available online immediately puts the broadband service providers into the primetime program delivery business as users find yet another justification for their broadband subscriptions.

Despite the great appeal of DVRs, the ability to call up one�s favorite programs anytime without having previously recorded them gives consumers with even greater control. Parks comments "We certainly don�t believe these developments will cool consumers� enthusiasm for the TV experience in the living room, but we do see that the cable companies and satellite providers will have to work hard to prevent further erosion of time logged on the couch."

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