updated 09:58 am EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Live Button rolls out to viewers in New York, Philadelphia first
Broadcaster ABC is said to be updating its iOS app to offer live streams of shows from local ABC stations later this week. New options for a "Live" button in the Watch ABC app for iPhone and iPad will mark it as the first major US broadcaster that provides live streams of its channels to app users, with the first markets to gain the service being New York and Philadelphia.
The report in the New York Times claims a presentation to advertisers by the broadcaster on Tuesday will feature the option, with six other cities where ABC owns the local stations able to receive it later in the Summer. The company will need to discuss with more than 200 affiliates in order to provide live streaming to viewers in their areas, with those owned by Hearst Television in 13 markets, including Boston and Pittsburgh, gaining it in the next few months.
While it is initially appearing in the iOS version, live TV will be added to versions of the app destined for other devices later this year.
Adding the option of viewing live TV to its app is a brave move for ABC, with president of the Disney-ABC Television Group Anne Sweeney saying "We watch how people are behaving with their devices, and we really felt that we needed to move faster." Though the app could be seen as an answer to Aereo, the streaming service that rebroadcasts local stations and provides a cloud-based DVR service, after the broadcasters failed in court, ABC claims that the live-streaming function plans were concocted before Aereo launched.