March 19, 2013
Just days after CBS finally began offering video streaming on iOS devices, ABC could be set to move things even further. The New York Times is reporting that ABC could soon become the first network to offer live video streaming on mobile devices. The plan being formalized now by The Walt Disney Company subsidiary would allow cable and satellite subscribers to stream programs as they happen. For example, users could watch “Good Morning America” via the app while standing in line for their morning coffee, or experience “Revenge” on their way home on a Sunday night. ABC's interest in iOS devices isn't new. They were the first U.S. network to offer streaming to iPad customers. In fact, the company’s free ABC Player app was released the same day as the first iPad launched in April 2010. As these things go, the devil will be in the details. The industry’s current TV Everywhere approach to mobile streaming benefits some, while keeping others in the dark. The result is a frustrating game of "Can I watch this on my iPad?" As an example, one doesn’t have to look any further than Disney’s own WatchESPN app. Originally launched in April 2011, the free app offers live streaming of sporting events on the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. However, the service is only available to customers of certain cable systems. In this case, Comcast XFINITY and Time Warner Cable subscribers, among others, can stream a live event. By contrast, DirecTV customers are left out. Hopefully, ABC brass will offer live video streaming to the largest number of TV subscribers as possible. Otherwise, it will be another case of the haves versus the have nots. We’ll keep you updated on ABC’s new plan. In the meantime, anyone in the U.S. can use ABC's current app to stream recorded programming.