| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES May 12 Disney's ABC network will
become the first broadcast network to stream its shows live
online through an ongoing service, starting with viewers of its
TV stations in New York and Philadelphia on May 14 and expanding
to its other stations by the end of the summer.
To promote its WATCH ABC service, through the end of June
Disney is allowing all viewers of its WABC station in New York
and WPVI station in Philadelphia to watch live ABC programs
online or on mobile devices by downloading the WATCH ABC app,
Disney said in a statement.
The app will initially allow users to be able to watch the
service on Apple's iPad and iPhone and on the Kindle Fire
device, and later this summer on Samsung Galaxy devices.
Other networks are expected to follow Disney, as traditional
broadcasters scramble to keep viewers watching its programs
instead of drifting off to Netflix and other online
In April, CBS made an investment in Syncbak, a
technology company that works with local TV stations to stream
programming to consumers over the Web.
Starting on July 1, Disney will only provide its WATCH ABC
service to subscribers of cable, satellite and other TV
subscription services that have agreements with ABC to offer the
service to their subscribers in New York and Philadelphia.
Subscribers must provide an authentication code to be granted
access to the shows.
Later this summer, Disney said it will expand use of its
WATCH ABC service to authenticated subscribers that receive its
TV stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston,
Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, California.
The company signed an agreement with Hearst
Television to offer the service as well to Hearst's 13
ABC affiliates, including Boston, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.
The stations will offer the service "in the coming months," the
two companies said.
Users of WATCH ABC will be able to access programs on demand
as well as watch live programs, Disney said.
Disney already offers similar services to subscribers of
three of its Disney Channel outlets - WATCH Disney Channel,
WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior - and through its WATCH
ESPN service for several of the sports channel outlets.