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Disney's Anne Sweeney: The Hulu Interview

PaidContent.org's Staci D. Kramer interviews Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, following the announcement that Disney would take an equity stake in Hulu, the joint video venture from NBC and News Corp. Asked whether the move indicated a change in direction from the company and a shift to trying to control the end-user's experience, Sweeney said, "We don't consider it a change in any way. If you look back starting with the the iTunes deal in October 2005, that was a very bold and gutsy move. That was really the deal and the moment that I think changed our culture, not just at ABC but at Disney when it came to the digital distribution of our content."

At present, Hulu will only host certain ABC shows. According to Sweeney, Disney will not consider porting all of its content over to the Hulu player. "I think there's value to both," she said of maintaining the company's video player and being a Hulu partner. "We actually found that the usage is different-(according to comScore) 8% of the ABC.com viewers go to Hulu and 13% of the Hulu audience goes to ABC.com. The ABC.com player is probably helping the tried-and-true ABC fan catch up. The Hulu player is providing more of the casual viewers, people who don't think to come to ABC first. I look at it as the natural evolution of our strategy."

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