Verizon-Disney authentication deal gives FiOS subs access to Watch ABC and Disney apps

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) said Thursday that it signed a TV Everywhere authentication deal with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) which will give FiOS TV subscribers access to mobile video apps Watch ABC, Watch Disney Channel and a multiplatform product it is developing for ABC Family.

But many FiOS TV subscribers won't be able to use the Watch ABC app to stream live local TV programming to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android smartphones and tablets because the live streaming service is only available in New York, Southern California, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

Disney launched the Watch ABC app and TV Everywhere website in May, making ABC the first broadcaster to stream live video from several of its owned-and-operated TV stations to authenticated subscribers using mobile devices both inside and outside their homes. In addition to offering Watch ABC in some markets where ABC owns TV stations, the company struck a deal with Hearst Television to offer it later this year in 13 markets where Hearst owns ABC affiliates, including Boston, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

Before reaching the Verizon pact, Disney signed Watch ABC authentication deals with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Cox Communications, Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), Midcontinent Communications and AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse TV.

FiOS TV subscribers can also access video-on-demand versions of "Modern Family" and other ABC series through the My Verizon portal and the Watch ABC apps. FiOS subscribers in markets where the live streaming content from ABC stations isn't available can still use iOS and Android apps to watch on-demand programming, but will see messages showing the markets where live streaming is available if they attempt to use that feature. This reporter, a subscriber on Verizon's Syracuse, N.Y., system, downloaded the Watch ABC iPad app Thursday afternoon but wasn't able to watch programming from Nexstar Broadcasting's ABC affiliate WSYR-TV.

FiOS subscribers also get access to the Watch Disney XD and Watch Disney apps. And Disney said Verizon agreed to launch Fusion, the multiplatform network that it will launch later this year through a joint venture with Univision.

"Adding WATCH Disney and WATCH ABC programming today, as well as the Fusion and WATCH ABC Family offerings soon, is the perfect addition to our TV Everywhere lineup for FiOS customers, now up to 53 partner channels," Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, director of FiOS TV product strategy and development, said in a prepared statement.

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