The app will be available for download beginning Tuesday afternoon on iOS devices in New York and Philadelphia -- and will be available in Fresno later this year.
The WATCH ABC LIVE STREAM PREVIEW will allow people to watch ABC at home and on the go in the Philadelphia and New York areas.
The new WATCH ABC service provides viewers, for the first time ever, with live*, local station access to their favorite ABC shows like Action News, Good Morning America, Scandal and Jimmy Kimmel. There will also be a variety of on-demand content.
The new authenticated WATCH ABC service will include the on-demand full-episode viewing experience that the ABC Full-Episode Player and ABC Player app have offered online and via tablets and phones. Viewers can access WATCH ABC online at ABC.com or by downloading the WATCH ABC app on their iPhone and iPad. The WATCH ABC app will be available on Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy devices later this year.
WATCH ABC will be available for a preview period until July 1. After that, users must be authenticated through their TV provider.
Currently, Disney/ABC Television Group has agreements in place for its authenticated WATCH products with a variety of Multichannel Video Program Distributors (MVPDs) including Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Midcontinent Communications and AT&T U-verse.
Following the end of the open access preview, WATCH service will continue to be available in the Philadelphia and New York areas to authenticated users who are customers of those providers.
The launch of WATCH ABC follows the success rollout of three authenticated WATCH Disney services -- WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior -- in June 2012. Downloaded nearly 15 million times since their debut, the three WATCH Disney products provide authenticated users with both access to live, linear network streams as well as an extensive offering of advantaged window "on demand" episodes.
"WATCH ABC is a game-changing innovation for the broadcast television industry. We're extremely excited to offer this open access preview to our WABC and WPVI viewers in New York and Philadelphia. This announcement represents a defining moment in technology and distribution, as well as for our advertising and affiliate partners, as we ensure that our high-quality content is available to viewers on a variety of devices," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. "Our mission with this special preview is to gather key learnings about the service and the consumers who utilize it in order for our WATCH products to be the gold standard experience of authenticated multiplatform viewing."
Following the end of the open access preview, the WATCH ABC live streams will continue to be available in New York City and Philadelphia to authenticated users. Additionally, this summer, WATCH ABC will roll-out in the other six ABC-owned station markets which include Los Angeles (KABC-TV), Chicago (WLS-TV), San Francisco (KGO-TV), Houston (KTRK-TV), Raleigh-Durham (WTVD-TV) and Fresno (KFSN-TV).
In addition to launching in the eight ABC-owned markets, the network has reached an agreement with Hearst Television to launch the WATCH ABC service in their 13 ABC station markets, which include Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Milwaukee, in the coming months. Agreements with other station groups are expected to be announced prior to the launch of the new Fall Season.
"Hearst Television recognizes that consumers want the ability to view our stations' programming on any device that has a screen," said David Barrett, Chairman and CEO, Hearst Television, Inc. "Our Hearst ABC affiliates are eager to work with the ABC team to deploy the innovative WATCH app experience in our local markets."
*Live video available in Philadelphia and New York areas only. Must be within each station's local viewing area. Program substitutions may apply.
WPVI-TV in Philadelphia contributed to this report.