Digital revenue seen as essential

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Digital revenue might be small, but it is beautiful and growing, and the era of giveaways is over, execs at MIPTV said Monday.

"I have a pretty strong point of view that new-media rights should be viewed as a separate window, not just a throw-in," said Ben Pyne, president of global distribution at Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks.

Pyne said Disney has established a strategy of monetizing on-demand and catch-up television through VOD, subscription VOD licenses and the launch of its own ad-supported video player.

"It is not a lot of money, but it is an amount of money, and it sets the right principle, which is that even if it's free to consumers, it is still part of a relationship that is monetized through a distributor," he said.

At a panel addressing online revenue, Joe Michaels, senior director of MSN Entertainment, said it remains to be seen whether the slowdown in global advertising means the nascent market for online content also will take a hit.

"We're past the crawl phase and are in the walk phase," he said. "All the key areas are now in place, so now the question is, do we have the stomach to live through the growing pains we are going through with the economy today." (partialdiff)
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