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Report: Disney Readying ABC TV App for Live Streaming

19 Mar, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Walt Disney Co. reportedly is working on an app that would enable authenticated viewers to watch live ABC TV programming on portable devices.

Heretofore, TV Everywhere apps and platforms have targeted multichannel video program distributor offering subscribers access to archived programming. The idea is to retain and lure subscribers at a time when alternative video viewing options proliferate such as subscription video-on-demand.

The ABC TV app could launch by the summer making the network the first to let viewers watch its programming live on the go, according to The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the project. Disney has recently bowed so-called “Watch” apps enabling authenticated viewers to catch-up on previous episodes and seasons of ESPN and Disney Channel programming.

HBO's propriatry HBO Go app is considered an industry benchmark with its user-friendly functionality and high-definition video. While it offers playback of current and past episodic programming, it too could offer live streaming.

With the evolution of Aereo TV, which enables paying users to watch live TV via digital airwaves delivered by mini antennae on portable devices, media companies are in a rush to stay on top of the rapidly evolving digital distribution channels. Aereo is currently in litigation with several media companies.

Indeed, ABC TV could run into its own legal challenges with the app regarding transmissions rights and the impact on local TV stations, which broadcast the network’s shows, among other issues.


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