Watch ABC 3.0: Pay Forever TV Gets a New Face
ABC’s move to offer live local affiliate streaming over the internet via their updated Watch ABC app is a good thing, right? People already paying for television do get more, but anyone hoping that free-air-TV would be free-to-view on the Internet get even less.
Yes, Watch ABC 3.0 (free) is now available on the iOS App Store for iPad and iPhone. The app does bring live streaming for local ABC affiliates in Philadelphia and New York, which at face value seems like a good thing.
However, the devil is in the details. First, only existing cable TV subscribers can get this service. In a nutshell, non-subscribers can’t watch free-to-air broadcast TV local ABC programming on the internet unless they pay the cable operator for the privilege and that’s just wrong — data is data and free-to-air should stay free-to-view on the internet.
Further, previously free-to-all content available on Hulu and ABC.com and their respective apps will be more strongly limited. As of this writing, it isn’t known how the Disney-owned network will restrict and reduce access to free programming.
It’s one thing to support shows with advertising. Requiring payment to see the same content is another. However, tying the ability to view free-air-TV with a cable subscription, while reducing distribution via competing services, as a matter of course seems more than a little unseemly…
What’s your take?