ABC has announced it will begin offering live streaming of its content to mobile devices via an iOS app this week, making a move to help cable providers maintain subscribers who are being enticed to cut the cord by services like Netflix and Aereo.
The network television company, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, announced this week it will be adding a “live” button to its iOS app, which will also be rebranded as Watch ABC, in line with the company’s Watch Disney and Watch ESPN apps, which allow live streaming of content.
While the app is certainly putting ABC in new territory when it comes to offering content online, it still reflects the role that subscriber fees play in broadcast television. Only users who subscribe to a cable or satellite provider will have access to the live television access within the app.
The company will feature the live function for the first time on Tuesday, in an upfront presentation to advertisers. Ads on the mobile app will not be the same as those seen on television, but rather will reflect ads now found on ABC.com, which the company said is due in part to the fact that Nielson is unable to measure mobile viewing of live television.
Initially, the service will only be available in New York and Philadelphia, but ABC said the service would be available in the other six cities where it owns stations sometime during the summer, and the company is working on deals with the companies that own ABC’s other 200 affiliates, to allow live-streaming in their markets.
The company has already finished a deal with Hearst Television, which will bring the “Live” functionality to 13 additional markets in the coming months, including Boston and Pittsburgh.
ABC will be able to stream all of its stations’ content, including local newscasts, syndicated talk shows like “Katie” and primetime series like “Nashville” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Currently the live functionality is only available in the iOS app, ABC said apps for other operating systems will be supported in the coming months.
Source: The New York Times