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Old 03-12-2003, 07:14 AM   #1
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WSJ article: ABC starts internet news channel

ABC starts 24/7 Internet-based news channel--WSJ
Reuters, 03.12.03, 3:20 AM ET

NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - ABC television network, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co. (nyse: DIS - news - people), plans to launch a 24-hour news service on Wednesday that will be available only to broadband Internet users, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newpaper said, according to ABC News officials, the new service -- whose launch coincides with escalating television-news competition amid the looming Iraq war -- will carry live feeds of breaking news with some anchored coverage.

It will also feature news summaries every half hour and rebroadcasts.

The online "channel" will initially be available to subscribers to the existing ABC News On Demand broadband service, which lets users who pay $4.95 a month view taped ABC News clips and programs, the Journal said.

It added that the channel will also be carried on RealNetworks Inc.'s (nasdaq: RNWK - news - people) RealOne SuperPass service, which includes ABC News On Demand as part of a broader package of entertainment and information video at a cost of $9.95 a month.

ABC News officials could not be immediately reached for comment early on Wednesday. But the Journal quoted Bernard Gershon, ABCNews.com senior vice president, as saying the broadband news channel will be "baby steps toward the first Internet news network".

The newspaper said Disney may later make deals to offer the service via other broadband providers, such as cable systems and telephone companies. Disney shares ended down 15 cents at $15.02 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service
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