Exclusive: Disney/ABC Launch SOAPnetic

Disney/ABC has unlocked the gates to SOAPnetic, its broadband video site for the SOAPnet cable channel, making the previously restricted site available to any broadband customers through Nov. 30. Since its launch in April, the "gated broadband" site has only been open to Verizon's high-speed customers.

SOAPnetic offers clips of the soaps that SOAPNet runs - same-day episodes of daytime dramas - as well as full episodes of the channel's originals. For the "Open Access" preview, it has beefed up its content with a special on this month's 25th anniversary of General Hospital's Luke and Laura and other extra video.

As a gated broadband network, SOAPnetic makes its money from licensing fees from high-speed providers, rather than advertising. Other Disney/ABC websites, including the Disney Channel's, are open offer to any broadband subscribers, their streaming video supported by ads. As companies like Disney continue to learn about digital distribution, they are weighing both the gated and open site models to see which is the most prudent business model.

SOAPnet, a digital cable channel, has also been beefing up its network homepage, soapnet.com, with new features lately. The site Monday launched a "Fantasy Soap League" game in which viewers can pay $9.99 for a ten-week pass to participate. As in fantasy football, players pick teams but in this game the players are soap characters.