Watch ABC app adds social media feature, allows fans to upload clips

Disney-owned ABC Television Group is adding clip sharing features to its Watch ABC app, allowing users to access and share "in-show moments" with friends via social media, while continuing to view the show on their mobile device.

"Gone are the days of fumbling for devices, or clumsily copying URLS. A fan can share clips or socialize with their friends as they are watching from one simple interface," said Albert Cheng, EVP and chief product officer for Digital Media Disney/ABC Television Group, in a release.

The new feature is called FastShare and it gives smartphone and tablet users access to pre-edited clips from the ABC show they're currently streaming. Clips can be uploaded to Facebook or Twitter.

One caveat: Users must have a current pay-TV subscription to access the app's live programming and current episodes. But the rest of its features are available to all users.

Watch ABC's app includes two additional features: Social Lens, which integrates viewers' Facebook and Twitter apps into the app; and Multi-Cam, which is meant to give mobile viewers "exclusive access" to venue and backstage cameras during live events.

The FastShare feature marks a sea change in the way broadcasters and distributors handle second-screen content. Traditionally cagey about how their content is viewed--fewer eyeballs on the big screen translate to less revenue from advertisers--companies like ABC are clearly starting to implement new options for viewers as the opportunity to make money from new sources grows. The Watch ABC app, for example, offers sponsorship opportunities as part of the new feature set. According to Bloomberg, ABC Television has signed Target and Mercedes-Benz as initial sponsors.

It's a leap that fellow broadcaster Univision has already taken, in its own way. The Spanish-language broadcaster's second-screen initiatives include social media engagement, something the company fully committed to just over two years ago, according to a profile in Convince & Convert. "The CEO and President of Digital made the wise move to think of social not as an add-on, but as something that's going to be a core component of the business going forward whether it's on the content side, whether it's on the marketing side, even as you think about talent recruiting," David Beck, SVP for social media at Univision, told author Jay Baer.

Univision Communications Inc., in fact, shares online a great deal of its insights on its viewing audience and digital trends.

Likewise, ABC Television did its share of research into its audience's viewing behavior. "After experimentation and observation of second screen behavior, we believe that many ABC fans watching television are multi-tasking on social platforms through their personal devices, whether it be a smartphone, tablet or laptop," Cheng said in the release.

In addition to the updated app, ABC Television Group is making at least some of its content available much earlier online. The first act of Once Upon A Time's season premiere--slated to air Sunday, Sept. 28--will be available Friday, Sept. 26, to authenticated viewers on the Watch ABC, Watch Disney Channel and Watch ABC Family platforms.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this story
- see this Convince & Convert profile on Univision
- see this press release and this release

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