ABC to live stream Academy Awards telecast on limited basis

ABC to live stream Academy Awards telecast on limited basis
ABC will live stream the Academy Awards this year on a limited basis. Oscar statues are moved into place as preparations are made for the 2012 ceremony. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

For the first time, ABC will live stream the Academy Awards -- but only on a limited basis.

Sunday night's red carpet preshow, the entire 86th Annual Academy Awards program and "Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars," will be made available to cable customers in eight major markets, including parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Consumers will need to activate the "Watch ABC" digital application and verify that they have a subscription to one of a handful of services, including AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS.

But the live streaming service will be available only to subscribers of a pay-TV service that has recently entered into a new distribution deal with ABC and its parent company Walt Disney Co. 

Disney's newer distribution deals, including a two-year-old agreement with Comcast Corp., grant streaming rights.  Comcast customers in Philadelphia will be able to activate the streaming service.

However, such rights were not included in older deals.

Customers of three of the nation's four largest pay-TV providers -- Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network -- will not be able to live stream the Oscars.

In addition to Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, the streaming service will be available to customers of Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Midcontinent Communications in the eight markets where ABC owns the local ABC affiliate station.

Those markets are: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno.

Charter and Cox serve regions of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Another reason why the service is not more widely available is because Disney has not completed digital deals with its affiliate station groups, with the exception of Hearst Television.

However, Hearst has not launched the service in its markets, including Boston, Pittsburgh and West Palm Beach, Fla.

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