ABC takes on Aero with live streaming

US ABC is this week launching an app called Watch ABC that live streams all programming from its local stations in New York and Philadelphia to viewers’ iPhones and iPads, the NYT says.

Only cable and satellite pay subscribers will be able to use the app, even though the station is free over public airwaves. The live stream will work anywhere in a local market. The app will support other operating systems in the coming months, said Albert Cheng, ABC executive vice president for digital media.

ABC said the stream will be available in the six other cities where it owns stations before the summer. It is in negotiations with firms owning over 200 ABC affiliates in other markets to extend the live streaming app elsewhere. Hearst TV, which owns ABC channels in13 markets including Boston and Pittsburgh, is the first to sign up.

Watch ABC comes at a time when viewers are increasingly turning to internet streaming TV services and is seen as an implicit rebuttal to Barry Diller’s Aero start-up, currently being sued by station owners for streaming their signal to pay customers.

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