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Disney eyes pay Website

Service would offer movies, TV shows, games

Disney is developing an Internet service that would offer Mouse movies, TV shows, games and other content on a subscription basis, Disney prexy and CEO Bob Iger told a media confab Wednesday.

Iger would not elaborate much more about the project other than to say that it would offer a “robust” experience for users. It’s believed to be conceived along the lines of a grown-up version of Disney’s successful kid social network/virtual world services Club Penguin and Pixie Hollow, which charge monthly subscription fees.

Iger mentioned the movie/TV service to illustrate what he said was the growing belief among Mouse execs that consumers will pay for content on the Web.

“People are willing to pay for what they perceive to be value,” Iger said during a Q&A sesh held as part of the Brainstorm Tech confab in Pasadena hosted by Fortune mag.

“We think there’s a lot of head room in being able to charge for product on the Web,” Iger said. He added that Disney has been spending a lot of time examining how much consumers spend per hour on various entertainment options. The Mouse, like every other media company, is focused on wringing more coin out of Internet activities as consumers spend more time online. He said Disney is focused on pursuing “multiple forms of monetization,” from subscription fees and paid content a la iTunes sales, to advertising to pay-as-you-go services.

Iger addressed the company’s recent decision to become an equity partner with NBC Universal and News Corp. in Hulu, saying he felt it was important that Disney programs be part of an online effort to “aggregate more content with more brands.” Although ABC.com was a pioneer in online streaming and successful, “we felt it would be wise for us to join (Hulu) and not only compete.”

As he has in other industry forums, Iger raised questions about the push that Comcast and Time Warner are spearheading to make cable content available for online viewing on a password-protected basis by consumers who already subscribe to cable or satellite service.

Iger questioned whether cable operators were in danger of losing subscribers because cable programming is becoming available online.

“It seems to be a reaction to something that isn’t necessarily evident,” Iger said.

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