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Warner Offers Web Programming to Affiliates

8 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Bros. is throwing television and cable affiliates an Internet bone.

Warner Bros. Television Group May 8 announced it would offer — beginning in the fall of 2007 — ad-supported streams of archived episodes from its highly rated sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”

Individual episodes would be free to consumers but could not be downloaded or burned to a disc.

Plans call for the online episodes, which will consist of the previous week's five aired syndicated installments, to run on an advertiser-supported basis with the series' distributor, Warner Bros., and the local station and cable network clients splitting the barter time.

The deal, which would be bundled with traditional TV syndication rights, would allow affiliates the ability to create individual content sites with 50% of ad revenue going to the studio.

Separate Web efforts by CBS Corp. and The Walt Disney Co. to repurpose content have largely ignored local affiliates. News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment recently announced it would allocate 12.5% of revenue generated through repurposing TV content through alternative channels.

“This precedent-setting distribution model recognizes that our viewers are insisting on flexibility,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group. “We want them to be able to watch ‘Two and a Half Men' when and where they want, whether it's on network television, in syndication or on-demand through their local station's website. We view this as a terrific way to work with our station partners to have an active role as the television world learns how to coexist with the digital, on-demand future of the business.”

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