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The Walt Disney Company is reportedly planning a mobile app that could make Hulu and Netflix seem ancient. Disney is looking to bring ABC content to mobile users as they air live.
According to The New York Times, which first reported on the plan, the app will let subscribers watch everything from Good Morning America to Nashville at the same time as people at home do. Sources, who spoke anonymously since the app hasn’t been officially announced yet, say that it could be available as soon as this year.
This app comes just days after CBS launched an app that will bring users content the day after it airs. However, ABC’s new app will leave this one in the dust, especially since CBS’ primetime shows won’t be on the app until eight days after they air.
The Times notes that the ambitious Disney app will make ABC the first network in the U.S. to give Internet users streaming access to programs as they air on TV.
Disney already has a “Watch” app for ESPN and the Disney Channel, but unlike those programs - which are all produced in-house - ABC often has programs that are produced by outside studios. For example, Modern Family is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, so the company would have to reach an agreement with that studio to stream it live. Disney will also have to deal with local ABC stations, who might not be that open to streaming their content.
Meanwhile, Disney and News Corporation, which co-own Hulu, are trying to figure out what to do with that site, which is mostly free. The Times notes that Disney could buy-out News Corp. and Comcast’s interests in the site and sell it to another interested party. If they decide to keep it, Disney and News Corp. may decide that its time to change hulu’s business model.
Still, the potential ABC app again shows the network’s growing realization that not everyone is watching TV at the same time or at home. Even Nielsen has finally awakened and is ready to include Internet viewing habits in its ratings.