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160+ stations signed to Disney/ABC OTT initiative

Almost a year to the day that Disney Media Networks Co-Chair and Disney|ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood made the announcement during his 2016 NAB Show keynote of a landmark Clearinghouse initiative that jumpstarts digital distribution options for its affiliates, Disney|ABC Television Group is announcing that it has signed more than 160 stations – including those owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, The E.W. Scripps Company, Hearst Television, TEGNA Media, among many others.

The vast majority of stations are now opted into one or more new internet-delivered programming services from DirecTV Now, Sony PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV and/or CenturyLink. Additionally, with the participation of affiliated stations, the ABC Owned Stations and digital distribution services, ABC’s overall TV Everywhere and OTT footprint is significantly expanded with programming now live – or poised to go live – on the ABC app, MVPDs and OTT access points in 90 per cent of US TV households.

“We are committed to digital distribution solutions that benefit the local/national relationship and the value it brings to consumers, so this is a real win for us, our affiliates and our video partners,” said Sherwood.  “I’m extremely proud of our team’s continued leadership and hard work in creating innovative business opportunities that move both our company and the entire industry forward.”

“Consumers are demanding programming experiences that meet them whenever and wherever they are,” said John Rouse, executive vice president, Affiliate Relations. “Through close collaboration with our ABC Affiliate Association’s Board of Governors, we’ve been able to accelerate the pace that our affiliate stations are able to enter into this digital marketplace, while maintaining the value and integrity of the overall local/national ABC programming experience. We are thrilled with the response from our affiliates and these digital distributors and look forward to working with them to roll out these services in the coming months.”

“Together, we have worked diligently to help craft a creative solution that delivers the unparalleled strength of ABC affiliates across the country directly to viewers watching their local stations on these digital platforms,“ added ABC Affiliate Board of Governors chairman Emily Barr, president and CEO, Graham Media Group. “Local television stations are deeply imbedded in their communities, and viewers rely on them for news, information and entertainment, now more than ever, anywhere on any device from TVs and desktops to tablets and mobile phones.“

ABC’s Clearinghouse initiative provides ABC affiliates the opportunity to opt into pre-negotiated agreements for digital distribution of their live, linear feeds, as well as potential opportunities for local VoD distribution.

Last year, Hearst Television stations successfully utilized Clearinghouse to launch in 14 markets on DirecTV’s TV Everywhere service, extending ABC’s TV Everywhere reach to 21 markets, including the already launched ABC Owned Station markets: New York (WABC), Los Angeles (KABC), Chicago (WLS), San Francisco (KGO), Houston (KTRK), Fresno (KFSN), Philadelphia (WPVI) and Raleigh-Durham (KTVD). As part of its TV Everywhere streaming offerings, ABC lets fans nationwide watch current episodes on demand of their favourite ABC shows – including “The Bachelorette,” “Scandal,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “General Hospital,” “The Chew” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” – anytime, anywhere. Viewers who subscribe to a participating pay TV service can watch the most recent episode the next day, and those in the ABC Owned Station and Hearst Television markets can watch a live 24-hour feed of the network.

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