Disney’s ABC to livestream all programming to iOS devices starting this week

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Big news from the New York Times this evening. ABC, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company,  will begin streaming live content to iOS devices later this week in Philadelphia and New York City using a new button on their app called ‘live’. Users will be able to live stream all the programming from ABC’s local stations there, ‘the first time that any major broadcaster has turned on such a technology.’

For the first six weeks the service will be free to anyone with an iOS device according to GigaOM. Before you go grabbing the scissors to cut that cable cord, be warned that the live stream will eventually be available only to paying subscribers of cable and satellite providers, even though the stations’ signals are available free over the public airwaves.

ABC, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, said the live stream would be available in the other six cities where it owns stations sometime this summer. It is also in talks with the companies that own ABC’s more than 200 affiliates to make the “live” button work in their markets.

Also, not all shows have beencleared for streaming so there might be some discrepancies between the live feeds and the stream. The news comes as a service called Aereo (which we’ve reviewed) is place shifting broadcast signals to the internet, making live channels available to portable device owners. Read more

Arthur Levinson named Chairman of Apple’s Board of Directors, Disney CEO Bob Iger joins the Board

Apple has announced that Arthur D. Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, has been named as Chairman of the Board and will continue serving on the audit comitee. Apple has also announed that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has joined the Board. Tim Cook commented:

“Art has made enormous contributions to Apple since he joined the board in 2000. He has been our longest serving co-lead director, and his insight and leadership are incredibly valuable to Apple, our employees and our shareholders.”

After Steve Jobs stepped down from his role as CEO, he became the company’s first Chairman. Levinson has now taken Jobs’s seat, after the inspirational founder passed away October 5, just a day after the company’s team of executives announced the iPhone 4S at a media event in Cupertino. Since 2005, Levinson served as co-lead director with Andrea Jung. Levinson has been known for pushing Apple to allow third party applications into Apple’s platform and guiding Jobs through Apple’s antenna problems with the iPhone 4.

In 2009, Levinson was forced to resign from Google’s Board of Directors. Levinson was serving on both Google and Apple’s Board, and once Google and Apple began moving into the same space, he was forced to resign from one Board. Consequentially he chose to be part of Apple.

Bob Iger is currently the President and CEO of Disney, and is joining Apple’s board and will serve on the audit committee. Iger and Jobs had a close relationship with one another while Jobs served as Chairman of Disney/Pixar’s Board. Tim Cook commented:

“Bob and I have gotten to know one another very well over the past few years and on behalf of the entire board, we think he is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board. His strategic vision for Disney is based on three fundamentals: generating the best creative content possible, fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, and expanding into new markets around the world which makes him a great fit for Apple.”

Press release after the break:

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Al Gore: “Everyone on [Apple’s] management team could be CEO of a world class corporation.”

Al Gore had some words on the passing of Steve Jobs at the AllThingsD conference in Asia last night. He said that Jobs was “the kind of guy that comes along once every 250 years.”

On Apple after him, Jobs relayed to Gore that Disney, where Jobs’ served on the board after selling Pixar, fell on hard times after Walt Disney died. Often, the board at Disney would ask “What would Walt do?” and trying to figure that out would end up being the wrong answer. Jobs, according to Gore, didn’t want this to happen at Apple. He wanted Apple to make its own decisions moving forward based on the decisions of the current management team.

Gore wasn’t terribly revealing on specifics but he did say “There’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline and the team [Steve Jobs] left behind is really firing on all cylinders”.

Finally, when asked about Apple’s future, Gore said that the management team is the best in the world and that “Everyone on that management team could be CEO of a world class corporation”. Gore acknowledges this is both a blessing and a curse and, as with the case of Ron Johnson, other companies will be trying to pick them off.

Gore also talked about the AT&T&T-Mobile merger during the Q&A answering a question from TIMN’s Joanna Stern saying that the merger would be unlikely, and would be hard to overcome Justice Department’s challenge.

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