ABC to Limit New Episodes Online to Paying Subs for One Week

ABC starting Jan. 6 will restrict next-day access to new episodes of TV shows on its website to subscribers of participating pay-TV affiliates and Hulu Plus.

Whereas shows on ABC.com have been available to anyone previously for free, under the new system only paying subs will have next-day access. But not all pay-TV customers will get able to get past the pay wall: The Alphabet net does not have deals currently with DirecTV, Dish Network or Time Warner Cable, among others. The ABC shows will be free without a subscription after one week to anyone.

ABC follows Fox in restricting access to shows to paying subscribers. The move clearly will be unpopular for many consumers who have grown accustomed to free current TV shows online. Fox switched to the model in late 2011.

When ABC announced the Watch ABC app in May, the net indicated it would eventually move Internet eps to authenticated access. A rep said ABC started “doing some education about this to users on the ABC.com website and via the app” regarding the changes coming Jan. 6 a few weeks ago.

The Alphabet net has deals with the following providers to access shows online: AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google Fiber, Midcontinent and Verizon FiOS.

The change by ABC on releasing new episodes was reported earlier by GigaOm.

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