ABC plans to begin live-streaing content from its local stations in the New York and Philadelphia markets this week. What's more, the company is negotiating to enable the service to work with more than 200 affiliates, according to Brian Stetler of the New York Times.
The ABC Player app already provides full-length episodes of ABC's prime-time television shows. ABC secured rights from programming providers to show locally broadcasted content including syndicated shows.
It's a bold step for ABC to differentiate itself from other broadcasters that offer apps for their own programming. Most of the focus of such software has been to provide streaming access to current or in some cases legacy content, but it's been delivered purely on demand. This turns the process on its head by rebroadcasting content from local affiliates instead.
It's also a shot across the bow of Aereo, a new startup that promises to deliver local broadcasting over the Internet; the service has already launched in New York and goes live in Boston this month. Aereo charges subscribers for access, but provides content that's broadcast over the air for free. It's a situation that has landed Aereo in court.
ABC says it'll start with iOS support, but plans to support other phones at tablets in the future.