ABC has officially shied away from launching a subscription-based on-demand streaming service, instead re-introducing free, ad-supported streaming of 38 classic shows and seven original short-form series to its internet lineup.
The Alphabet network’s retooled service, which was first announced last year, will get a totally redesigned interface for Apple devices, and will make live local streaming available in 14 markets.
“We hope this will be an opportunity for our existing talent to flex their creative muscles, and also an opportunity for audiences to discover and champion new emerging content creators,” said ABC Entertainment VP Samie Falvey in a statement.
New series created under the ABC Digital banner, include Boondoggle, a Ty Burrell (Modern Family)-led series about famous TV stars of a certain age, and Forever 31, which follows comedian Iliza Schlesinger and her friends in their struggle with dead-end jobs, dating, and various other issues of modern adulthood. The network’s five other new shows range in theme from music and cooking to a show for new moms.
Classic ABC series which fans will want to stream for free include School House Rock, Ellen and Ugly Betty, among others.
The move to keep things free is, for the time being, a wise one for the Alphabet network, as competitors such as NBCUniversal’s Seeso and CBS’s All Access have had a relatively difficult time securing subscribers. By making its option free for everyone, at least at first, numbers on ABC Digital should be markedly improved than if the service was secured by a pay wall. Plus, if the new original shorts that are digital-only prove compelling, fans may have a good reason to view things through the new service.
The newly updated App is available for only Apple products, but ABC’s new digital offerings can also be found on ABC.com, Amazon, Google Play, Roku, and Xbox 360.