ABC will live stream Oscars to iOS devices for first time, but with restrictions

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ABC on Thursday announced that it will be live streaming the 86th Academy Awards to the Web and mobile devices, including Apple's iOS lineup, but plans to limit access to subscribers of certain pay-TV providers in specific areas of the country.

According to Variety, ABC is restricting the Oscars live stream to Watch ABC users, both on the Web and on mobile, who subscribe to eight specific providers in eight owned-station regions.

Participating providers include AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications and Verizon FiOS. The live stream will be available in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Calif., Houston, Chicago, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Philadelphia and New York.

Along with the Web version, ABC will be piping multiple live feeds to users of the Watch ABC iOS app, including behind-the-scenes coverage from 15 backstage cameras. Sponsored once again by Samsung Galaxy, the "Oscars Backstage" content is available to all users regardless of location or provider. Previously, these special feeds were given their own app.

Video highlights and "Oscars Backstage" clips will be made available shortly after they air live, which translates to 5-10 minutes, the publication said. For the first time, ABC will also post coverage of the show's musical performances.

After the festivities, ABC will grant verified users access to an on-demand version of the entire pre-show and telecast for three days.

ABC's move to limit access to certain viewers is part of a larger plan to maintain leverage in negotiations with cable, satellite and other TV operators, Variety says. The network is looking to charge providers an extra fee for subscriber access to premium Watch ABC content.

Subscribers to the above-mentioned cable providers who live in eight specific regions can access ABC's coverage via,, and the Watch ABC app, which is available as a free 47.8MB download from the App Store.