Like its competition, ABC and its affiliates are working out the framework for a TV Everywhere product, and are taking small steps as they figure out the nuances of over-the-top TV. Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, outlined his “near-term vision” for live streaming at the affiliates board meeting in Las Vegas, according to Mike Devlin, board chairman. ”Like with everyone else, the business model is a work in progress,” said Devlin, also WFAA Dallas president and general manager. “They are not committed to one [model].”
ABC showed its Watch ABC mobile app to affiliates in this same setting two years ago, but affiliate adoption has been slow due to myriad issues, whether it’s technology or copyrights.
The board was told by Ben Pyne, president of global distribution at Disney Media Networks, that the affiliated stations would remain part of the process as the OTT solution is worked out. “We got assurances that what the network does in terms of streaming will be in concert with the affiliates,” said Devlin.
Devlin did not offer a timeline in terms of when the plan would be operational for partner stations. “Given the fact that it’s the Internet, it will move quickly,” he said.
TV Everywhere is Topic A at the various affiliate board, and body, meetings this week in Las Vegas. It will be discussed extensively when the CBS and Fox affiliates bodies meet April 14.
The ABC affiliates board also got a glimpse at two comedy pilots and assurances from Sherwood that the network is wholly focused on boosting primetime numbers. Sherwood made it clear the goal is to be No. 1. “It’s a pretty ambitious goal, and we were pleased to hear it,” said Devlin.
The closed door meeting was “very cordial,” said Devlin. “Like all partnerships, there are differences,” he said. “But we can speak frankly with the network, and the network listens.”
The affiliates body meets with ABC brass in Burbank next month.