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01.30.2005
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
ABC News to end digital TV experiment

ABC News is ending a DTV experiment with news programming that it began with last summer’s political conventions, the Associated Press reported.

The network’s 24-hour news feed, “ABC News Now,” has returned to being available only over the Internet and through wireless devices. Until last weekend, it had been available on the digital channels of nearly 70 ABC affiliates.

Although the network is pleased with the digital experiment, it needed to re-evaluate what distribution methods made the most sense, ABC News spokeswoman Julie Summersgill told the AP. Internet and wireless distribution will continue because ABC News has multiyear deals with such partners as America Online, she said.

The network still considers “ABC News Now” to be the future of television news, allowing viewers to watch from whatever platform is most convenient, be it a cell phone or a computer. Yet the audience is very small — in the thousands, compared with millions for regular TV.

Prior to the political conventions last summer, ABC began distributing the program on digital channels in an experiment intended to last through Election Day. The network extended that through the inauguration before deciding to end the experiment.

Summersgill told the AP that ABC News remains committed to the program and is beginning to hire permanent staffers.

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