Disney–ABC Television Group

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ABC, Inc.
Disney–ABC Television Group
Wholly owned subsidiary of Disney Media Networks
Industry Broadcast
Predecessor Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.
Founded September 19, 1996; 19 years ago (1996-09-19)
Headquarters Burbank, California, U.S.
Key people
Ben Sherwood (President)
Parent Disney Media Networks
(The Walt Disney Company)
Website disneyabcpress.com/disneyabctv/

ABC, Inc.[1] DBA Disney–ABC Television Group[2] (a.k.a. Disney–ABC[3]) manages all of The Walt Disney Company's Disney and ABC-branded television properties. The group includes the ABC Television Network (including ABC Daytime, ABC Entertainment, and ABC News divisions), as well as Disney's 50% stake in A&E Television Networks and its 80% controlling stake in ESPN, Inc.[4] While holding the controlling stake in ESPN, Disney–ABC and ESPN operate as separate units of Disney Media Networks.[5]


In 1996, Disney acquired Capital Cities/ABC[6] bringing ABC Television Network Group, CC/ABC Broadcasting Group (ABC Radio Network, eight TV and 21 radio stations), ABC Cable and International Broadcast Group, CC/ABC Publishing Group and CC/ABC Multimedia Group. The Cable and International Broadcast Group contained ownership shares of ESPN, Inc. (80%) A&E Television Networks (37.5%), Lifetime Television (50%) and its international investments. These investments included Tele-München (50%, Germany; included 20% of RTL II), Hamster Productions. (33%, France) and Scandinavian Broadcasting System (23%, Luxembourg). ESPN also had international holdings: Eurosport (33.3%, England), TV Sport (10%, France; Eurosport affiliate) and The Japan Sports Channel (20%). The Publishing Group including Fairchild Publications, Chilton Publications, multiple newspapers from a dozen dailies (including the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star) and more weeklies, and dozens more publications in the fields of farm, business and law trade journals plus LA Magazine to Institutional Investor. The Multimedia Group pursued businesses in new and emerging media technologies, including the interactive television, pay-per-view, VOD, HDTV, video cassette, Optical disc, on-line services and location-based entertainment.[7]

In April 1996, due to ongoing post Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and retirement of its president, WDTT group's division were reassigned to other groups with Walt Disney Television International (including Disney Channel International and Buena Vista Television domestic syndication and Pay TV division and GMTV and Super RTL holdings) were transferred to Capital Cities/ABC.[8] In May due to the merger, ABC ended its ABC Productions division operations while keeping its boutique production companies: Victor Television, DIC Entertainment and Greengrass Productions.[9] The international operations of Disney TV International and ABC Cable and International Broadcast Group were merged in June as Disney/ABC International Television.[10]

Disney had ABC Group sell various publishing companies in 1997. Chilton was sold to Reed Elsevier for $447 million and got $142 million from Euromoney Publications for Institutional Investor. While in April Knight Ridder purchased four newspapers including The Kansas City Star and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram for $1.65 billion. In August 1999, Fairchild Publications was sold to Conde Nast Publications.[11]

In late 1999, Walt Disney Television, along with other WDS television units were transferred from The Walt Disney Studios again to Disney-ABC Television Group to merge with ABC's primetime division, ABC Entertainment, to form ABC Entertainment Group.[12][13][14]

ABC Group chairman Robert A. Iger was named president and chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Company in January 2000.[15] In September 2002, Disney Chairman/CEO Michael Eisner outlined a proposed realignment of the ABC broadcast network day parts with the similar unit in its cable channels: ABC Saturday mornings with Disney Channels (Toon & Playhouse), ABC daytime with Soapnet and ABC prime time with ABC Family.[16] In October October 2003, ABC Family Worldwide was changed from a Disney COO directly reporting unit to being with in the ABC Cable Networks Group run by Anne Sweeney.[17]

Disney–ABC Television Group[edit]

On April 21, 2004, Disney announced a restructuring of its Disney Media Networks division with Sweeney being named president of ABC parent Disney–ABC, and ESPN president George Bodenheimer becoming co-CEO of the division with Sweeney, as well as president of ABC Sports. This move added ABC TV Network within Disney-ABC.[18] ABC1 channel initially launched in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2004 as the first use of the ABC brand outside the US.[19] While ABC News Now was launched that year in the US on digital subchannel of 70 ABC owned & operated and affiliates.[20]

In February 2007, Touchstone Television was renamed ABC Television Studio as part of Disney's push to drop secondary brands like Buena Vista for Disney, ABC and ESPN.[21] ABC1 in the UK was shut down on September 26, 2007.[22]

On January 22, 2009, Disney–ABC said it would merge ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios into a new unit called ABC Entertainment Group.[23][24] That April, ABC Enterprises took an ownership stake in Hulu in exchange for online distribution license and $25 million in ABC network ad credits.[25] The Live Well Network (LWN) was launched on April 27, 2009 by ABC Owned Television Stations on the stations' subchannels[26][27][28] Late that year, A+E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services with DATG ownership increasing to 42%.[29] In November, Disney-ABC sells GMTV to ITV for $37 million.[30]

On March 24, 2012, following the dissolution of the ABC Daytime division, ABC Family Worldwide Inc. began taking operational control of Soapnet until that network was slowly discontinued for Disney Junior.[31][32] In July 2012, NBCUniversal confirmed plans to sell its 15.8% stake in A+E Networks to Disney and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, who became 50-50 partners in the joint venture.[33]

On August 21, 2013, Disney–ABC announced it will layoff 175 employees. The layoffs are expected to hit positions among technical operations as well as the unit's eight local stations.[34] On October 28, ABC News and Univision launched Fusion, a Hispanic news and satire shows cable channel.[35]

In August 2014, A+E took a 10% stake in Vice Media for $250 million, then announced in April 2015 that H2 would be rebrand into the Vice channel with an indicated early 2016 launch.[36] Disney also made direct investment in Vice Media with two $200 investments in November 2015 then a week later in December for about a direct 10% to assist in funding programming.[37] ABC Family became Freeform on January 12, 2016.[38]


ABC, Inc. DBA Disney–ABC Television Group[39]

Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications[edit]

Unit[7][8] transferred to[8]
KCAL-TV Los Angeles sold to Young[42]
Walt Disney Television Disney Studios
Disney Television Animation
Touchstone Television
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Walt Disney Television International CC/ABC
Disney Channel International
Buena Vista Television
Super RTL
Disney Interactive
Disney TeleVentures, Inc. Disney corporate

Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications (WDTT) was a division of The Walt Disney Company. At the time Disney and Capital Cities/ABC merged, WDTT's divisions were The Disney Channel, KCAL-TV Los Angeles, Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television and Buena Vista Home Video International, and Disney Interactive.[7]

WDTT history[edit]

On August 24, 1994 with Jeffrey Katzenberg's resignation a reorganization of Disney Company took place in which Richard Frank became head of newly formed Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications, which was split off from its filmed entertainment business, Walt Disney Motion Pictures.[43] Walt Disney Computer Software was transferred with in WDTT on December 5, 1994 as Disney Interactive.[44] In April 1996 due to ongoing post Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and retirement of its president, WDTT group's division were reassigned to other groups with most transferred to The Walt Disney Studios or CC/ABC.[8] KCAL was sold to Young Broadcasting in May 1996 due to CC/ABC ownership of another TV station in the market.[42]


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  4. ^ Our Divisions - ESPN Careers
  5. ^ "Our Businesses". The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
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  7. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet: The Walt Disney Company". Press Release. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
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  17. ^ Romano, Allison (October 20, 2003). "Sweeney is family's new parent figure". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "ABC Networks Get Major Executive Overhaul". The Futon Critic. 
  19. ^ Deans, Jason (August 5, 2004). "ABC spells out plans for Freeview channel". The Guardian. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ Jesdanun, Anick (September 4, 2004). "ABC News banks on digital, despite small audiences today". USA Today. AP. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
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  26. ^ "ABC O&Os Launch Digital Network". Broadcasting & Cable. April 27, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  27. ^ ABC O&Os Launch Digital Network, Broadcasting & Cable, April 27, 2009
  28. ^ ABC Multicasts Live Well HD Channel, Mediaweek, October 25, 2009
  29. ^ A&E Acquires Lifetime. Variety.com. August 27, 2009.
  30. ^ "Disney sells stake in U.K.’s GMTV". Variety. November 26, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  31. ^ Eades, Chris (March 1, 2012). "ABC Family Is Taking Over SOAPnet... For Now!". Soaps in Depth. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  32. ^ Giddens, Jamey (February 29, 2012). "BREAKING NEWS: Kate Nelson OUT at SOAPnet; Day-to-Day Operations Now Under ABC Family Until Channel Goes Dark". Daytime Confidential (Confidential Media, Inc). Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  33. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (July 10, 2012). "Comcast to sell A&E stake for $3 billion: A&E to redeem the 15.8% stake". Variety. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  34. ^ Steinberg, Brian (August 21, 2013). "Disney To Eliminate 175 Jobs At ABC Television Group". Variety. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  35. ^ James, Meg (August 1, 2013). "ABC-Univision cable network, Fusion, to launch Oct. 28". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  36. ^ Atkinson, Claire (April 28, 2015). "Vice to get TV channel, replacing H2 on A&E Networks' roster". NY Post (NYP Holdings, Inc.). Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  37. ^ Ember, Sydney (December 8, 2015). "Disney Invests $200 Million More in Vice Media to Support New Programming". New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  38. ^ Petski, Denise (December 10, 2015). "ABC Family Name-Change To Coincide With 'Pretty Little Liars' & 'Shadowhunters' Premieres". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  39. ^ Reynolds, Matt (May 11, 2012). "ABC Show Is a 'Big Brother' Ripoff, CBS Says". Courthouse News.com. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
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  41. ^ "Annual Report" (PDF). http://thewaltdisneycompany.com. The Walt Disney Company. September 28, 2013. p. 3. Retrieved July 7, 2014. Disney Channels Worldwide includes over 100 channels available in 34 languages and 166 countries/territories. Branded channels include Disney Channel, Disney Junior , Disney XD, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama and DLife.  External link in |website= (help)
  42. ^ a b "New York Firm to Buy KCAL-TV for $385 Million". Los Angeles Times. May 14, 1996. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  43. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (August 25, 1994). "Chairman of Disney Studios Resigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  44. ^ Polsson, Ken. "July to December 1994". Chronology of the Walt Disney Company. Ken Polsson. Retrieved 6 December 2012.  sources:
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    *The New York Times. December 6, 1994. pp. D5.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
    *CD-ROM Today 3 (2): 26. February 1995.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
    *Windows Magazine 6 (3): 42. March 1995.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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