After a two-month test, ABCNEWS.com (abcnews.go.com) is expanding its 24-hour live
streaming-video news-subscription service, and it has signed a distribution pact
with RealNetworks Inc. to widen its reach to a larger broadband audience.
Under the deal, "ABC News Live" will be offered through RNI's "SuperPass"
premium pay-content service exclusively.
It is an extension of the content relationship between ABC News and RNI --
when the streaming-media-technology giant launched the SuperPass
premium-subscription service in 2001, it provided exclusive ABC News content,
including video from programs such as World News Tonight with Peter
Jennings and Nightline.
The addition of ABC News Live content will not cost extra for SuperPass
ABCNEWS.com will also continue to offer live video news through its ABC News
On Demand service at its portal for $4.95 monthly or $39.95 yearly.
A prime target for the live service is the workplace broadband user, looking
for instant updates on world and national events.
Daytime is indeed a peak usage time for broadband content at ABCNEWS.com,
with traffic spiking at about 9 a.m., when users arrive for work, then rising
again between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to senior vice president and general
manager Bernie Gershon.
"For us, the middle of the day is primetime for our broadband audience," he
When ABC's online unit started the live-video-news service in March, it
initially focused on breaking news. But now, that has expanded to cover a wider
range of news content, including hourly news briefs with anchor and
correspondent Alina Cho and repackaged, high-profile news interviews.
That includes a replay of Barbara Walters' 20/20 interview with former
first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The interview, which aired on 20/20
Monday, was made available online at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
"The goal initially was to be primarily a C-SPAN on the Net," Gershon said.
"Now the goal is to move toward a total news package."
In the near future, the news-video content will also be available to
wireless-handset users as well as wired broadband viewers, Gershon
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