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Tuesday, January 03, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Disney adds ESPN, ABC Sports content to iTunes

In an effort to leverage its creative content, Walt Disney Company announced on Tuesday that it has added a slew of new programming to Apple's iTunes Music Store, including content from ESPN and ABC Sports.

In addition to content from the two major sports networks, the entertainment giant said it will also offer new programming from ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television, ABC Family, ABC News, Buena Vista Television, Disney Channel, and SOAPnet, as well as content produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation.

ESPN and ABC Sports are the first to offer sports programming on the iTunes Music Store. Condensed versions of all four BCS Bowl Games from ABC Sports will be available on the iTunes Music Store — including yesterday's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and Nokia Sugar Bowl, which be available today. Today's Orange Bowl and tomorrow's Rose Bowl Presented by Citi (the national title game, matching USC against The University of Texas) will be available the day after they air.

Later this month, ESPN will make additional content available, including the Best Of The X Games; "SportsCentury" interviews from ESPN Classic's award-winning biography series; the popular "This is SportsCenter" commercials; and select ESPN Original Entertainment programs — including "Knight School," the forthcoming reality program featuring Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight, which will premiere on iTunes.

"Our mission is to serve fans wherever they are by delivering high-quality content across dozens of multi-media platforms, now including the iTunes Music Store and viewing on the iPod," said George Bodenheimer, ESPN and ABC Sports President and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. "We are thrilled to be the first content provider to offer sports content on iTunes."

In addition to the ESPN and ABC Sports content, more programming from Disney ABC Television Group will also be available later this month on the iTunes Music Store, including such cable programming as ABC Family's original series "Wildfire," Disney Channel's popular animated series "Kim Possible" and "The Proud Family" and SOAPnet's original biography series "Soapography," as well as ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television library product including "America's Funniest Home Videos" and the popular 1970's Saturday morning "School House Rock" vignettes and episodes of Buena Vista Television's "Ebert and Roeper."

Additionally, free, ad-supported video podcasts from ABC News will be available, including daily segments from "Good Morning America" and the "World News Tonight" webcast, as well as ABC News Now's "Money Minute," "Medical Minute" and "Buzz Cut."

"We look forward to building upon the success of our initial iTunes offerings and are dedicated to providing consumers with a variety of high quality entertainment and news content that they can view at their convenience, regardless of time, place or platform," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney ABC Television Group. "We believe that making our content available on iTunes results in incremental viewing opportunities and also furthers awareness of our programs and brands."

Classic animated shorts produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and featured on Buena Vista Home Entertainment's upcoming "Disney at the Academy Awards," including the 1933 Academy Award-winning "The Three Little Pigs" and the 1935 Academy Award-winning "The Tortoise and the Hare," will also be available.

"Our animated product has always been the touchstone of The Walt Disney Company," stated Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "We are pleased that in addition to offering our classic animated shorts on DVD, we will now reach an even broader audience with programming on Apple's iTunes Music Store. It is certainly gratifying to know that consumers of all ages will get to experience first hand the remarkable and award-winning works from some of the most gifted animators in history."

All of the aforementioned content is available for purchase for $1.99 per episode. The new content joins other Disney ABC Television Group programming already on sale at the iTunes Music Store, including "Commander in Chief," "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," "That's So Raven" and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."