In a radical new move, Walt Disney’s ABC TV Network in the USA is to post some of its most popular shows online for free just 24 hours after they are shown on US television.

A two-month trial starting in May will see big-name shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Commander in Chief made available on the internet at no cost to consumers. The snag is that consumers will not be able to fast forward through TV commercials contained in the free download.

Users can currently download episodes 24 hours after they are shown for a small charge using Apple’s iTunes service. Disney plans to fund the free trial using advertising, and has already accepted offers from Universal Pictures, AT&T, Ford and Procter & Gamble. Part of the advertising deal means that users will be able to pause, fast forward or rewind any part of an episode except the ads

However, it is unlikely that the service will be available to internet users outside the US initally but could be in the future with the advertising being rotated for various Countries.

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