The industry was intrigued by Wednesday’s announcement that episodes of the hit ABC shows “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” will be available for Apple’s new video iPod. Episodes will go on sale for $1.99 on iTunes the day after they are broadcast.
For ABC and its parent Walt Disney Co., the bet is that the new technology will bring in more new fans of the programs than will be taken away from watching them on traditional broadcast television.
The network’s affiliates were not told the deal was in the works before Wednesday, and they’re the people most likely to be concerned about its impact. Now the iPod will join digital video recorders and DVDs as another way of seeing television programs other than their regularly scheduled times on the ABC stations.
Leon Long, chairman of ABC’s affiliate board and general manager of WLOX-TV in Biloxi, Miss., wasn’t worried.
He said if viewers have the choice of watching “Desperate Housewives” on their wide-screen television with surround sound or a two-inch iPod screen, they will almost certainly watch it on TV. The iPod option will likely be attractive to people who missed an episode and want to keep up with the story, he said.
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