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Affils Link to ABC Streaming Test

Four of the ABC Television Network’s station affiliates have agreed to take part in a video-streaming test in which primetime hits such as Lost will be offered free-of-charge on the Internet, officials said Friday.

ABC, part of the Disney-ABC Television Group, reached an agreement with four station groups that are going to help promote the trial, in which several ABC shows are being made available on ABC.com (abc.go.com).

Five stations -- Belo Corp.’s WFAA in Dallas; Cox Broadcasting’s WFTV in Orlando, Fla.; Hearst-Argyle Television’s WISN in Milwaukee; Young Broadcasting Inc.’s WATE in Knoxville, Tenn.; and ABC-owned Los Angeles affiliate KABC -- will feature promotional messages and links to ABC.com’s video-streaming test on their own Web sites.

“We are open to exploring ways to work with our local broadcast affiliates as we experiment in the digital-media arena,” ABC senior vice president of affiliate relations John Rouse said in a prepared statement. “Having these affiliates participate in and share research from this experiment will help us to best determine a successful model for all of our businesses as they continue to evolve.”

ABC appears to be reaching out to its affiliates, some of which have expressed displeasure about the online video-streaming trial in recent weeks.

ABC.com’s streaming-video trial runs through June 30 and features ad-supported, full-length episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Commander in Chief and Alias.

National advertisers participating in the trial include AT&T Inc., Cingular Wireless, Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., Unilever NV’s Suave, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures.