ABC has some catching up to do. If this were the Boston, they started in New hampshire. ABC bought its way into the big three, and it still has some work to do. ABC tends to fight itself alot.

Think about this. In the 80’s and 90’s all three major broadcasting companies were bought out. In the cases of NBC and CBS, they were bought out by large appliance and electric corporations. ABC is bought by the Walt Disney Company.

ABC is bought out by a company that had owned its own cable network since 1981. Disney was already in the business of providing entertainment. ABC and Disney had been working together since ABC helped to finance Disneyland in 1953.

ABC had exclusive rights to Walt Disney’s material for a long time, helping them to gain ground in market share. But as had always been the problem for ABC, they didn’t have the moeny to start broadcasting in Color when the first opportunities arose. So Disney took his show to NBC and renamed it ‘Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”.

They have always been a step behind CBS and NBC, and once again they find themselves competing with their own parent company. Its a tough spot for ABC. When ABC succeeds, Disney prospers. When Disney’s operations do well, it could go either way.

The Disney Channel and ABC Family channels both compete for the same target market. When a Disney channel show is popular, it is likely tuning sets away from ABC.

But, the infusions of cash and resources from Disney have been  a life line of sorts for ABC. The merger brought with it touchstone pictures, and they began producing ABC’s original programing. In 2007 Touchstone changed its name to ABC Studios and is now the production company for all of ABC’s biggest primetime hits.

So, what does all of this mean in terms of challenges facing ABC in the road ahead? Their biggest challenge will be overcoming NBC and CBS with programing alone. With the least HD options available, ABC has to find a way to stand out from the crowd, and the best way to do that is by offering the best shows at the best times.

Next they need to get ahead of the curve. They have begun that process already by becoming an early adopter of providing full-length episodes on the web. The ability to access content when and where the user wants it has almost become an assumption in American culture.

Finally, they must figure out a way to get out from the shadow of the Walt Disney Company. Competing with the company that pays your bills is always difficult. Disney has given ABC leaps and bounds, but how far has it set it self back?

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