ABC has been pushing for more streaming rights for its series, and this fall, it’s offering authenticated viewers all in-season episodes of all of its new series across its digital on-demand platforms, including ABC.com and the ABC app.
The app is available across iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple TV platforms. Full seasons from most series also are available on Hulu and on select pay-TV platforms, including Xfinity and DirecTV.
Viewers that want to watch these series on-demand need to sign in via their pay-TV provider to prove they are paying for a subscription, and then log on to the app to watch.
Series that are offering all episodes from this season include American Housewife, Conviction, Dancing With the Stars, Designated Survivor, Notorious, Quantico, The Real O’Neals, Secrets and Lies and Speechless, as well as mid-season entries American Crime, The Bachelor, The Big Fan, Downward Dog, Imaginary Mary, Time After Time and limited event series When We Rise.
“More viewers are watching shows on their own terms, and we want to continue pursuing ways to better meet their expectations. Whether they fall behind on their favorite show or are late in discovering one that is new to them, we want fans to easily find and connect with our content,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment, in a statement.
Having full seasons of shows available on-demand across digital platforms is a matter of acquiring streaming rights. Ever since this method of distribution became available, subscription video on demand (SVOD) platforms — and most notably Netflix — have warned studios that if they allowed networks to stream full seasons of shows, streaming services would pay less for them. As a result, studios were hesitant to give networks buying first-run rights to shows full streaming rights. That’s why only the five most recent episodes of many shows are available over streaming platforms.
Last summer, however, ABC and Warner Bros. cut a first-of-its-kind deal that gave ABC full-season streaming rights to any shows ABC might buy from Warner Bros. This season, the only new series ABC bought from Warner Bros. was Time After Time, but the studio also produces veteran reality program The Bachelor, and the full season of that show is being made available to viewers.
In general, SVOD services have been moving away from acquired content and toward original series so that may be allowing studios to be more flexible with their first-run network buyers.
ABC Studios is at least a production participant in most of ABC’s new shows, including American Housewife, Conviction, Designated Survivor, Downward Dog, Imaginary Mary, Notorious, Speechless, Quantico, The Real O’Neals and Secrets and Lies.
Several of ABC’s popular veterans series, including all of the Shondaland shows Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal, as well as Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and Modern Family—are being streamed on ABC’s digital platforms according to the old rules, with the five most recent episodes available to authenticated viewers.
Over the summer, ABC redesigned its app’s user interface and made 38 “throwback” series available to viewers, including Ellen, Felicity, Sports Night and Ugly Betty.