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ABC relaunches its streaming service with expanded lineup, digital originals

TechCrunch TechCrunch 13/07/2016 Sarah Perez

ABC this morning has relaunched its streaming service in an effort to better target cord cutters, with an expanded lineup of shows, including dozens of “throwback” series as well as seven, new digital short-form series and over 40 more in development. The app, which features a redesigned interface for iOS and Apple TV devices, also offers exclusive content for pay TV subscribers, including the ability to watch live television in select markets.

The content is also available on the web at

According to the network’s SVP of Digital Media, Karin Gilford, the goal with the revamped service is to re-imagine the digital viewing experience for ABC fans by offering a combination of shows that viewers love alongside originals that are “fun, fresh and perfect for mobile,” she said in an announcement.

“Fans on Apple devices will benefit from a dynamic new interface that makes it easier to find shows. All of this allows us to expand beyond the bounds of our linear schedule and extend ABC storytelling to viewers across screens and platforms,” added Gilford.

At launch, the new digital series include both comedy and lifestyle shows that were developed in-house by ABC Comedy Development, ABC Daytime and ABC Digital Media. Because the originals don’t need to find a TV-sized audience in order to stay “on the air,” so to speak, they’re able to tackle a broader variety of subjects and situations, compared with today’s television. For example, one show focuses on gay marriage, another on moms of newborns, and a third lets songwriters perform and discuss their music.

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Other series seem to take well-performing concepts from the TV era, and turn them into digital shorts. That’s the case with the reality show from eBay millionaire Linda Lightman (“I Can Find $3,000 in Your Home), who scours people’s homes for items worth cash – a sort of lowbrow “Antiques Roadshow”-type show.

Another, “Get Cookin’,” comes from the popular online cooking community Tastemade, and will feature techniques, tips, and recipes from chefs.

ABC says it’s now developing more than 40 additional series, which will roll out on a monthly basis.

Meanwhile, a large lineup of past shows brings back some fan favorites like “My So-Called Life,” “Ugly Betty,” and others, along with previously cancelled series, and daytime TV like “Ellen.”

Both the library shows and the originals will be available to all users, even if they don’t sign in with their pay TV credentials.

However, the latest episodes of currently airing TV shows still require viewers to subscribe to cable or satellite television in order to watch. These are available the day after they air, but older episodes are viewable by non-subscribers.

Pay TV viewers in a handful of U.S. markets (14 Hearst Television ABC markets at present) can also tune into ABC’s live, 24-hour feed. This allows them to access local, national and syndicated programming, including their local news. ABC-owned stations in New York, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, Houston, Fresno, Philadelphia, and Raleigh-Durham can access the live feed, too.

Plus, ABC promises pay TV viewers will also be able to watch some “exclusive programming events.” (Hopefully, this referred to future plans to stream live events, like the Oscars, but ABC didn’t clarify this.)

Along with the new programming, the updated application has been given a makeover in terms of its user interface. Now, it’s easier to navigate through the content, and the app has organized series into thematic collections, like “drama,” “funny,” “reality,” etc.

The new app, which is free and ad-supported, is available on iTunes here and on Apple TV. The new content is also available online.

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