ABC to restrict access to TV episodes online


ABCNo more streaming from their ABC Go ( website for new episodes: Starting 1/6, ABC will require viewers to sign in with their cable account info if they want to watch new episodes of the network’s shows online the day after they air on TV.

Next-day access to full episodes of ABC TV shows will still be available to Hulu Plus subscribers. Everyone else will have to wait a whole week.

Said ABC: “Pay TV service providers are a key part of the television industry in delivering broadcast content through new technology platforms. Now, with the support of participating pay TV service providers, the ABC network is able to continue to bring live entertainment, news and sports programming on a national and local level as well as the latest on-demand episodes on new, emerging digital platforms at no additional cost to their subscribers.”

Both Hulu and will continue to make episodes available to everyone, including people who don’t pay for cable, eight days after the initial air date.

“ABC has teamed up with a number of TV providers, including Comcast, AT&T and even Google Fiber, to offer authentication, and Hulu offers authentication through AT&T, Cablevision and Verizon. However, no similar agreements are in place for DISH, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, meaning that customers of these providers will have to wait a week for new ABC episodes as well,” noted a GigaOM story.

The move follows Fox instituting an eight-day delay for unauthenticated viewers in 2011, and has been forcing viewers to either sign in or pay up for Hulu Plus ever since.

See the GigaOm story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: As much as we hear about retransmission consent issues, the broadcast networks and the MSOs are still very symbiotic. They need each other for revenues and ratings and these types of moves are usually part of a revenue-sharing deal. ABC will likely boost ratings with this move as well. We’ve all seen the spots running of late hyping TV Everywhere viewing “if you have wireless.”