Verizon Wireless has added full-length episodes of ABC prime-time programming through a new deal with Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN. The pact will expand on short-form programming that Verizon already offers from ABC, ESPN and others, with complete episodes from ABC Entertainment such as "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," "Ugly Betty," as well as ABC News shows "Nightline," "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," "World News with Charles Gibson" and "20/20." Disney channel content will include "Hannah Montana," "The Suite Life on Deck," and "Phineas and Ferb." Expanded programming and short sports news clips from ESPN are also included. The new content will be made available on V CAST, Verizon's mobile video platform subscription service, the day after airing on TV. V Cast-enabled handsets on the Verizon Wireless network allow customers to subscribe for the V CAST VPak monthly package, or enable the service for 24 hours for a small day rate. Once on the service, customers access unlimited basic video or the new ESPN/Disney/ABC mobile web sites and full-episode content. However, many mobile phones on the Verizon network do not work with the V CAST service, including newer handsets such as Blackberry models. No mention in the press release was made on this subject.
The deal will further the goals of the digital video distribution department of Disney and ESPN Media networks to provide more ways for viewers to connect to content and brands in a multi-platform environment. A Nielsen Mobile study indicated that mobile video subscription services such as V CAST increased to only 7.3 percent of subscribers in the last year. This updated partnership aims to make such content more accessible.
CBS shows "CSI,: "60 Minutes," and "Survivor" will be available on V Cast and on Verizon's FiOS Fiber Optic TV Network.