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Ad Recall Better on Web than on Network TV

Reuters reports that prime-time ABC television shows were viewed more than 11 million times on the Web in the first month of a test performed by the Walt Disney Co. to determine whether consumers will watch ads online, if the TV shows are free.

An online exit survey posted the first week of the two-month trial showed that 87 percent of respondents could recall the advertisers that sponsored the episodes they watched. That compares with typical ad recall of about 40 percent for commercials viewed on television, industry sources said.

A retooled version of the free site, which incorporates data gathered during the test, will be launched in the Fall, Disney Media Network Co-Chair Anne Sweeney said. The look of the ABC.com interface will remain similar to the test page, but the shows offered will change over time, Sweeney said.

Sweeney described the preliminary results of the test as "very heartening" and said it appeared that Disney would have no trouble attracting advertisers for shows offered at the ABC.com website. Also noteworthy, the ABC.com pilot program in one month outperformed the results Disney had seen in its nine-month partnership with Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes to offer episodes of its hit television shows for download, without commercials, for $1.99 each.

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