On Sunday, the 86th Academy Awards will be streamed live for the first time on ABC web and mobile apps. Access to live streams of the 2014 Oscars will be limited to only eight markets in the U.S. at no additional charge, but there are some very significant limitations. For one, while ABC is considered ‘free TV’, access this stream will require that have a pay-TV subscription. On mobile devices, you can access the Oscars 2014 using the free Watch ABC app, available in the App Store.
This year also marks other big changes. They will retire the Oscars app, a dedicated application that has been updated yearly since 2011. It was developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Disney-ABC Television Group. It had all sorts of pre-event content, some of which will make it into the Watch ABC app in advance of Sunday marketed as the Oscars Backstage content. It will features three channels, pulling content from 15 live cameras.
In order to watch the live stream of the 2014 Oscars, you need to authenticate your ‘pay-TV’ account using one of eight providers:
- Cox Communications
- Charter Communications
- Midcontinent Communications
- Verizon FiOS
- Google Fiber
- AT&T U-verse
And it will only be available in eight station owned markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Fresno, Calif.
Why is ABC using one of the biggest awards shows to announce limited access? ABC would like cable, satellite and Telco TV operators to pay ABC for access to Watch ABC content. Not only big events like the Oscars, but primetime and daytime television content that is available in full on the Watch ABC app.