As part of a test back in February, Disney-ABC struck a similar deal with Cox Communications for its Orange County, Calif. system. Viewers could watch ABC shows, but could not fast-forward through commercials or other content.
ABC has been aggressive in this policy in an attempt to assuage TV advertisers that their messages are being seen. Proponents say ABC's plan is no different from how computer users screen Internet streaming episodes of TV shows where fast-forwarding ability is disabled.
Disney-ABC says viewer reaction from the Cox Communications test was positive, noting that 93% of consumers find viewing advertising on VOD acceptable in return for seeing ABC shows at any time.
Verizon's deal with ABC includes TV series like "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," "Samantha Who?" and "Ugly Betty." All are available one day after their broadcast premieres, and can be seen in high definition. Verizon's goal is to offer FiOS TV customers over 1,000 HD video-on-demand titles every month by year-end.
Verizon's FiOS TV VOD library now houses more than 11,000 titles per month, 70% of which are free. FiOS TV subscribers can get more than 400 all-digital channels, including up to 100 HD channels available in some markets.