NAB 2016: ABC Offers ‘Clearinghouse’ Digital Product to Affiliates

Complete Coverage: NAB Show 2016

Disney-ABC Television Group and the ABC affiliates are moving a step closer to true TV Everywhere with the network’s launch of Clearinghouse, which it says offers station partners “turnkey opportunities” to get on board with widespread digital distribution. Clearinghouse allows station owners to opt in to pre-negotiated agreements for digital distribution of their live, linear feeds, and provides “potential opportunities” for local video on demand distribution. 

Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group, announced the initiative at the 2016 NAB Show. “Building on our leadership in the TV Everywhere space, we’ve pioneered creative, three-way Clearinghouse distribution arrangements among ABC, our affiliates, and our video providers,” said Sherwood. “These efficient, turnkey deals allow our affiliates to opt into partnerships that work for them, preserving the powerful local/national relationship while expediting the delivery of their signals into new consumer spaces that viewers are demanding. This is win-win. Consumers get the viewing choices they demand. And our affiliates get distribution opportunities that accelerate their involvement.”

Related: Disney’s Sherwood Touts Broadcasting’s ‘Superpower’

ABC will roll out the initiative in the coming months.  The network has ironed out deals between its owned stations and DirecTV for the Watch ABC TV Everywhere service and Sony Playstation Vue, and will use these as templates for Clearinghouse.

Hearst Television will pilot the DirecTV opt-in across its 14 ABC markets with the roll out of Watch ABC TV Everywhere early this summer. 

“Hearst Television is looking forward to launching the ABC app and to continuing to partner with ABC on innovative distribution efforts designed to better serve our communities,” said Jordan Wertlieb, president, Hearst Television Inc.

Digital distribution is a popular theme at this year’s NAB show, with the networks and station partners seeking to extend their partnership across mobile platforms.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.