Many content providers and cable networks are working hard at separating themselves from traditional cable TV bundles by launching their own apps and subscription services, or by partnering up with existing streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. A few, such as Fox and ABC, have created their own streaming solutions to show their own content. ABC in particular are deciding to take a fairly alternative route for cable networks; using original content to popularize their own app. In their continued bid to get their subsidiaries and fan favorite content off traditional paid TV models and into newer markets, Disney, owner of ABC, is turning first and foremost to getting big names into the mobile and web space via apps, mostly.
ABC has already started making plans for a short-form scripted comedy starring Iliza Shlesinger, a fairly unknown comedian. This seems to indicate that ABC plans not only to use original programming to turn their app into the preferred method for fans to get their fix, but also to give newer, untested shows and talent a chance to shine and gauge their market relevance, with implications of a possible move to prime time for programs that prove particularly profitable. Paywalls may or may not apply for the new content; there has been no real word on it, with the typical sprinklings of ABC reps declining to comment. Some content on the app currently requires authentication from the user’s cable provider. In some markets, the app even allows users to watch ABC’s channel as if they are parked in front of their television.
Disney CEO Bob Iger is playing a strange game with the adoption of more modern and exclusive streaming methods, with some moves even adding value to traditional TV, which is quite counterintuitive. ABC and Disney’s past fizzled attempts to hit the new market couldn’t have been forgotten so easily, meaning this new effort will likely be handled a bit differently. With ESPN and Marvel already on board, Disney seems ready to take all its programming in new directions little by little, likely testing and curating a different market for each content provider and department.