App will only be for cable and satellite subscribers
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
In another move that points to users abandoning conventional television options in favor of online streaming, the Walt Disney Company has announced that they are working on a new app that will provide live streaming of ABC programming anywhere in the world. The only hitch is, it’ll only be available for cable and satellite subscribers.
“With the app, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, will become the first of the American broadcasters to provide a live Internet stream of national and local programming to people who pay for cable or satellite,” – New York Times
Well, the Gray Old Lady is technically right… sort of. Time Warner cable has a deal with Roku that provides live TV streaming to their subscribers through the new Roku interface. But Disney would be the first content provider to offer live direct streaming of their programming, if you don’t count their deal with Netflix. But that’s the genius of Disney’s plan… they’ve got both feet in different options so that wherever the trend goes, and it’s obvious it’s moving away from cable and satellite providers, their content will follow.
As for the app itself, my guess is that it will be loosely based on ESPN‘s own app, WATCH ESPN, which offers live streaming of sports content from the sports network, but you have to log into your cable/satellite account after being redirected to it. Then users will be able to enjoy the live streaming. But how it will affect their own ABC Player is anyone’s guess.
Will cable/satellite providers expect Disney to abandon it in favor of the new live version? Who knows. There are still people who live in broadcast only areas that would be left out if Disney abandoned it. Other apps include HBO to Go which offer similar programming access to subscribers. But the ABC/Disney App could be the first that will provider a live network stream.
Course, I don’t know what the difference is between this and just using a Slingbox. The high tech box connects to your cable/satellite box and allows users to access the TV broadcast anywhere on the internet. And with the Slingbox app, you can do it via iPad or iPhone.
Sooner or later, Disney will cut out the middle man and go directly to the audience. It’s inevitable. And every other content provider will follow. Will it take longer than cable cutters want? Probably. Content providers cant’ just cut off their contracts with cable and satellite companies, but even the executives in the hallowed halls of Comcast and Time Warner have to see that while the apps are a step away from the strangle hold that they have on content. And try though they may to protect a business model that only a dinosaur will appreciate, it’ll only be a matter of time before they’ll be relegated to either evolving to a bit provider, or going out of business altogether.
But until then, content providers will have to play the game, and subscribers will have to jump through the hoops if they want to have access to their content. And frankly, I can’t wait.
Hat Tip – Apple Insider