The ABC stations in New York and Philadelphia have launched an app on iPhones and iPads that will allow users to see all of their programming on the go. However, the relay is not just geographically protected, as the live stream will only be made available to customers to satellite and cable.
It is a demonstration of the importance of carriage fees to the network that the bundling has been put in place, particularly as the signal is freely available over the air.
ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Company, anticipates another six cities will be authorized before the end of the summer.
The app can also be seen as the networks reasserting their control amid the launch of the Aereo service, which they argue is infringing their copyright by making available technology that enables consumers to access broadcast television via a remote antenna and PVR.