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Disney Joining NBC, CBS in Putting Classics Online

Disney plans to stream some of its classic shows -- and possibly films -- online, CEO Bob Iger told investors at its annual shareholder meeting. Unlike similar efforts by CBS and NBC, however, Disney has not decided whether to make the shows free or to form a subscription service for access.

“There is quite a demand out there for access to a wide range of archived products, and we have looked for new ways that we could distribute it, and one way that seems pretty evident that is very exciting to us is the Internet,” Iger said. “We have started to use aspects of to distribute some of that product, but we believe that over time, in the near future, you will see a lot more of that product available in varying ways on, either for free or as some kind of subscription service.”

Disney owns the rights a number of classic shows, including Davy Crockett and Zorro, which could be streamed on its Web site. Iger said the company is building a section of the site that will eventually be used as a repository for the programs.

“We are developing what I will call ‘Classic Disney’ for,” he added. “In the near future, you will gain access to a lot of that great stuff.”

NBC and CBS unveiled their own plans to stream classic shows online last month. CBS streams Star Trek and The Twilight Zone on a “TV Classics” section of, while NBC streams shows such as Battlestar Galactica and The A-Team on its Web sites as well as on Hulu.

Iger did not give a timeline for when the company would make the classic programming available, but he said it would be “sooner rather than later.”