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ABC News Launches on Apple TV

ABC News has made a major foray into over-the-top set-top boxes and connected TVs, with the launch of ABC News on Apple TV.

The service, which is expected to go live at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, will include a wide array of content, including highlights from its major TV news programs, access to live and on demand video, news updates, over 50 years of archival footage, original content and local news from ABC affiliates in nine major markets.

In developing the app, ABC News viewed the ability to provide live news as a particularly important feature, explains Joe Ruffolo, senior VP of ABC News Digital.

The app will feature four separate live video streams that allow users to move between live events and breaking news throughout the day. Outside of time periods in the middle of the night, the goal is to offer “as much live news as we can,” adds Doug Vance, VP of product development at ABC News.

There will also be video updates on the hour and four to five live updates per day.

Archival footage going back over 50 years will allow users to get context on breaking news events like the current crisis in Iraq or the recent 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson car chase with police.

The local news updates would be provided by eight of the ABC owned stations—WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, WPVI in Philadelphia, KGO in San Francisco, KTRK in Houston, WTVD in Raleigh and KFSN in Fresno—as well as the Hearst-owned station WISN in Milwaukee.

Full episodes of ABC News network TV programming like ABC World News With Diane Sawyer will continue to be available only on ABC Watch to authenticated pay TV subscribers, but highlights of all these programs will be available on Apple TV.

Unlike the Watch ABC app, which provides live feeds of local affiliates and is only available to authenticated pay TV subscribers in the station’s DMA, the local news updates and clips will available nationwide on Apple TV.

Ruffolo says the Apple TV launch is part of a larger effort to bring more content to connected TVs and over-the-top streaming devices.

He expects the ABC News offering to become available on more devices. “We’re absolutely looking at others and you will see them continue to roll out during the rest of the year,” he said.