ABC today announced a rebranding of its Watch ABC app for iOS and Apple TV devices, now simply called "ABC," aimed at offering a wider breath of content as well as new, exclusive digital series for users who download the app. The interface has also been redesigned and the app is exclusive to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (via Entertainment Weekly).
One of the more interesting aspects of the new ABC app is that the network has added 38 full seasons of "throwback" shows, meaning that anyone can download the app and watch entire seasons of now-cancelled ABC series, without having to sign into a paid TV service account. Some of these old shows include Ugly Betty, Schoolhouse Rock, Ellen, My So-Called Life, and Dinosaurs.
“Our team has completely re-imagined the digital viewing experience for ABC fans,” said Karin Gilford, ABC’s senior vice president of digital media, in a statement. “In addition to the current ABC shows that fans know and love, we are introducing new ABCd original digital series that are fun, fresh and perfect for mobile, and we are making full seasons of all-time favorite shows available for binging.”
Otherwise, ABC will function much in the same fashion as its predecessor, allowing those who can provide proof of a TV subscription access to brand-new episodes of the latest TV from the network, like Scandal and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the addition of new digital short-form video series. Users will also be able to stream live TV from within the app.
ABC is available to download from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link].
Top Rated Comments
Yes, ABC is giving non-cable-subscribers and cable subscribers alike access to the same back catalogue already on Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix (definitely with subscriptions, probably free-with-commercials on Hulu without subscription for most of these shows if not all of them). Fabulous.
However, ABC is giving current season (or rather, any season access for non-canceled shows) show access only to people who also happen to get their content from a cable company. This justifiably rankles those who get live ABC over the air (as ABC is required by law to provide).
As for why, the reason is simple. ABC gets carriage fees from cable companies, so they make more money off cable subscribers and would love to keep that cash cow mooing.
The real question, though, is why ABC won't allow non-cable-subscribers to directly pay ABC the equivalent of a per-subscriber carriage fee (less than a dollar per month per subscriber) in order to sign in.
As alternatives, non-cable subscription networks like Sling TV and Playstation Vue allow ABC access on their $20/month plans (along with many other channels of course), so that might be an option if you just have to have ABC shows on your AppleTV. Or, you may find that just buying seasons of the shows you actually care about a la carte is a much better and more affordable option (especially if bought using iTunes Gift Cards that often show up on sale for 10-15% off and periodically from 20-25% off).
So the best way is to authenticate via your pay tv provider as they already have the retransmission rights in place.
It doesn't make sense.