Disney|ABC TV Creates ‘Clearinghouse’ to Speed Digital Distribution for Affiliates

LOS ANGELES—Disney|ABC Television Group announced the creation of a new affiliate initiative called “Clearinghouse,” which lays the groundwork to create turnkey opportunities for its affiliates to initiate distribution of newly developed services on TV Everywhere platforms and with over-the-top providers.

The initiative, announced by Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney|ABC Television Group during his keynote at the 2016 NAB Show, provides ABC affiliates the opportunity to opt into pre-negotiated agreements for digital distribution of their live, linear feeds as well as potential opportunities for local VOD distribution.

“Building on our leadership in the TV everywhere space, we’ve pioneered creative, three-way Clearinghouse distribution arrangements among ABC, our affiliates, and our video providers,” Sherwood said. “These efficient, turnkey deals allow our affiliates to opt into partnerships that work for them, preserving the powerful local/national relationship while expediting the delivery of their signals into new consumer spaces that viewers are demanding. This is win-win. Consumers get the viewing choices they demand. And our affiliates get distribution opportunities that accelerate their involvement.”

ABC will roll-out the initiative to affiliates in the coming months, beginning with two opportunities. The network has formulated the technical and distribution components of deals between the ABC Owned Television Stations and DirecTV for the Watch ABC TV Everywhere service and Sony Playstation Vue, and will use these as templates for the Clearinghouse offerings.

Hearst Television will pilot the DirecTV Clearinghouse affiliate opt-in across their 14 local ABC stations with the roll out of Watch ABC TV Everywhere early this summer. “Hearst Television is looking forward to launching the ABC app and to continuing to partner with ABC on innovative distribution efforts designed to better serve our communities, Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst Television said. Disney|ABC Television Group is comprised of The Walt Disney Co.’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, and radio business.

This includes ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and the ABC Television Network, which provides entertainment, news and kids programming to viewers via more than 200 affiliated stations across the U.S. It also includes Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of 107 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and Radio Disney brands, as well as cable network Freeform (formerly ABC Family.) Disney|ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution and Disney Media Distribution round out the portfolio. Disney|ABC Television Group also has equity interests in A+E Networks and Hulu.