Not to be outdone by rival NBC, which will extend the television broadcast of it’s daily morning show “Today” to an unprecedented fourth hour starting next week, ABC News launched the first installment of its “third advertiser-supported weekday hour of its 32-year-old-morning show ‘Good Morning America’” on Tuesday.

In terms of talent, NBC wins hand down. Ex-pro Footballer Tiki Barber and culinary vixen Giada De Laurentis are well-known and diverse enough correspondents to give “Today” an appeal greater than that of its syndicated cooking and talkshow competition.

But “GMA’s” third-hour host Chris Cuomo is competing in a slightly different demo, as the newly released “Good Morning American Now” will debut as a broadband-only program to appear on ABC’s News Now’s digital service.

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Filmed at the ‘Good Morning America’ studies in Time’s Square, acccording to TV Week, “’GMA Now’ will not simply replay ‘GMA’ segments. ‘GMA Now’ will be built of taped segments with live news headlines and AccuWeather segments. The updates will be made throughout the day, inserted at the top of and midway through the program.” The program will also include extended versions of segments that made it to television broadcast.

I’d like to give you a first hand account and critique of the show, but I can’t watch it. Like ESPN’s fresh cut ESPN 360, the full version of the program is only available to subscribers to one of ABC News Now’s digital services or partners (my Time Warner Cable isn’t one). And like ESPN 360, this sets a dangerous precedent to an open and free Internet.

“Good Morning Now” is working on an advertising model with built-in commercial breaks, so why not let anyone and everyone view those ads? With distribution costs growing increasingly smaller, the economics of web video appear to be in the number of eyeballs a show can wrangle, not in partnerships of exclusivity. Why make a chunk of your potential audience basically blind?

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