Disney-owned ABC will begin streaming live television shows to its mobile app (currently available on iOS and Windows 8/Windows RT) starting this summer. The feature will initially come to New York and Philadelphia markets first, where users of the mobile app will find a “live” button to tune into live broadcast television. The feature will expand gradually to more markets this summer, and the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent, estimates that the feature will be available in some 200 markets.
The live streaming ABC app had been rumored in the past, and now it looks like the summer launch is imminent.
In order to tune into the “live” feature, ABC mobile app watchers must also have paid TV at home through satellite, cable, or fiber providers. Users must first authenticate using their username and password for any one of the paid TV providers before they’re given the option to watch live broadcast, according to a report on the New York Times.
Watchers going through the app won’t be seeing the same advertisements as they do when they watch ABC through their television sets. The shows will have digital ads, similar to what viewers see currently watching previously-aired shows on ABC.com and through the mobile apps. “This is in part because the Nielsen Company is not able to measure mobile viewing of live television yet,” writes the Times.
ABC’s move into live airing may spur other broadcasters to do the same. The company became the first to offer a mobile app for previously aired shows several years ago with the launch of Apple’s first iPad, and since then Fox, CBS, The CW, NBC, and others have followed ABC’s lead.
However, ABC’s move into the live streaming arena may be reactionary as services like Aereo have been given the green light by court order. Additionally, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone also comes with some sort of place shifting technology if the phone and the TV are connected to the same home WiFi network, allowing users to take their content anywhere in the home while they’re moving around doing chores.