ABC to start streaming live programming to mobile devices this week


Covered by the New York Times yesterday, Walt Disney’s ABC will start testing a new mobile application called “Watch ABC” that allows premium TV subscribers to watch a live stream of the network’s content on devices like smartphones and tablets. Launching first in New York and Philadelphia on May 14, ABC management will continue to roll out access to the application in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and Raleigh-Durham this summer. The network is also currently in negotiations to launch the application with affiliates around the nation. Hearst Television is the first major affiliate to sign a deal for streaming access and plans to launch in Boston and Pittsburgh in the near future.

WATCH_ABC_premium-tvRather than updating the existing ABC application for mobile devices, mobile users will download the Watch ABC app and authorize access with details about their current cable or satellite subscription package. At launch, access will be limited to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad as well as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet.

Further Android support will roll out later this summer with an app designed for Samsung Galaxy devices. Users will also be able to access the live stream on using a desktop computer or laptop. As a promotional tool, ABC will also offer a free preview of the application to all New York and Philadelphia residents through June 2013. 

Rather than displaying identical advertisements, the Watch ABC application will insert advertisements specifically developed for Web and mobile users. When asked about the ad alterations, ABC vice president for digital media Albert Cheng said “What you see here is the same live programming, but what we are doing during the commercial break is actually inserting new ads into the stream.”

watch_abc_iphoneIt’s likely that these ads will be extremely similar, if not identical, to the advertisements that currently run on the ABC / NBC / FOX joint venture This will allow ABC to accurately measure the effectiveness and performance of these ads since the Nielsen Company isn’t quite ready to monitor ad performance on the Web.  

It’s unclear if ABC plans to offer a premium subscription price to anyone that doesn’t currently subscribe to a premium TV service. However, it’s extremely likely that this platform is designed to combat Aereo; the service that streams high definition network content from antennas to subscribers over the Web. Obviously unhappy with another company making money on these feeds, it’s likely that more networks will follow ABC’s lead  in providing a platform to access live content over the Web and on mobile devices. 

While ABC is pushing aggressively to launch the Watch ABC app in all markets before the start of the Fall 2013 television season, the network will face a variety of hurdles with local affiliates. Affiliates will likely push for more local content included in the streaming feed in addition to advertisements that are relevant to the same local community. In addition, local stations broadcast syndicated programming, but likely don’t have the rights to display that content on the Web. Assuming it’s prohibited, the Web stream would likely have to default back to the national feed.  

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Sling TV ramps up its base programming with Discovery Networks for free

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.

The best 4K TV deals under $500 and over 50 inches

Big-screen TVs with high-resolution displays and 4K color have dropped so far in price that you can find highly rated 50 to 55-inch models under $500. We searched major retailers for the best deals on 4K UHD TVs.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ ‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Alita,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, as well as new trailers for Alita: Battle Angel and Bumblebee.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 2, Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Stranger Things season 3 predictions: Decoding the episode titles

Netflix has revealed the episode titles for season 3 of Stranger Things, and the eight titles could shed light on what we can expect to see when the hit show returns in summer 2019.