According to today’s press release, WATCH ABC will be made available via an “open access preview” to users in New York City and Philadelphia residents. As expected, users will be required to confirm that they have a cable or satellite subscription before being allowed to view any of the application’s live content.
The company is noting that the live TV streaming service will be rolling out to the Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno markets this summer. At the time this Disney is only providing live streaming in markets where the local ABC station is already owned by The Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent company, or has already signed an agreement with Disney.
So far Hearst Television has also announced that it will make the service available to all of the markets it serves eventually. These markets include Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Milwaukee.
WATCH ABC is the fifth live streaming application to be launched by Disney. Currently, users can live stream content using WATCH Disney, WATCH Disney XD, WATCH Disney Junior and WATCH ESPN. The company expects to launch a WATCH application for its ABC Family cable network early in 2014.
WATCH ABC will replace the ABC Player already available to users. The company does mention that it has plans to make the application available to Samsung Galaxy users “this summer” but doesn’t indicate whether the application will be made available to all Android users.
The press release also makes no mention of any upcoming support for Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 devices, though the ABC Player app is currently available for Microsoft’s Windows RT and Windows 8 users.
The possibility of a live streaming application for ABC has been suspected for months though reports from the New York Times only indicated that WATCH ABC might be made available sometime this summer. These reports also indicated that live streaming would be made available to users on Microsoft’s Windows 8 as well.
As of today ABC is the only broadcast network to offer their content on mobile devices as it airs. Rivals CBS, PBS, The CW, and NBC only offer the content through mobile devices via their respective websites and applications the day after they air.