Disney-ABC Television Group has been expanding its work in original video programming to now include companion content for ABC Family and Disney Channel shows in addition to ABC primetime programs. The company’s digital media studios group has also been experimenting with new production processes for online video in support of an upcoming ABC Family pilot in 2012. If successful, the new process could become a blueprint for how the development of complementary online video content can be integrated into the production of a show.
To date, the digital media studios group has been tasked with producing behind-the-scenes material, interviews, and derivative Web programming for ABC shows such as “Lost” and “Cougartown,” and recently began supporting the other networks, said Chris Thomes, VP digital media studios at Disney-ABC TV Group.
Currently, his team is developing complementary Web programming for an ABC Family pilot slated for a 2012 release. The work could serve as a proving ground for best practices for Web production. “We want to get in early, work with the show runner and the production company and make sure we have a digital strategy for that show so we’re not playing catch up,” he said.
Starting earlier can also help the digital media studios group better support marketing and sales, he said. “What it can do is show to our sales department that we can create entertainment that is interesting for the brands, show to marketing that it can do some of the lifting they need, and it can extend our stories earlier in the process whereby everybody can get behind it and it can be woven into the fabric of a show’s production. We can be proactive.”
Thomes said the sales team sells inventory in original online video year-round, but will also be making a concerted push to include integrated packages with online video programming in the upfront.