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Disney Eyes Subscription Revenue Online

Walt Disney Co. Chief Bob Iger on Wednesday revealed that the media giant is developing a subscription-based product for the Web, Bloomberg reports. Speaking at a Fortune magazine conference, Iger said, "We have ample evidence both in traditional and new media that people are willing to pay for quality, to pay for choice and to pay for convenience. And they are willing to pay for what they perceive as value."

He noted that while online advertising could also be improved, the company thinks subscription products look particularly promising. "It's wrong to assume that because there is a lot available on the Internet that is free that it will be hard to monetize," Iger said.

In the meantime, Disney, the world's largest media company, continues to put its television shows and movies online. It was the first company to sell shows and films on Apple's iTunes Store, and the first to put ad-supported prime-time TV programs on the Web for free. Most recently, Disney struck a deal to supply Hulu, the joint video venture from News Corp. and NBC Universal, with full episodes of certain TV shows as well as movies. Disney paid about $35 million to acquire a 27% stake in the online video site, now the Web's third largest after Google's YouTube and News Corp.'s Fox Interactive sites.

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