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A Bold New Step for the 86th Academy Awards

by   -  March 1st, 2014

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited to watch the Oscars this year. Why you ask? For starters, who doesn't love watching the actors and films we love being honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)? Besides, this year's theme is all about Heroes and hosted by the supremely talented (not to mention hilarious) Ellen Degeneres. What's not to love?

One of the biggest changes in the Oscars this year is the way they are truly heading into the 21st century, as ABC prepares to launch their first ever live-stream telecast of the prestigious program.

In the past, they've provided nomination details, backstage access and red carpet news via their Oscars app, which they launched in 2011. However, according to Karen Gilford, senior VP of digital media for ABC, they have decided to retire the app in lieu of a bold, new move with their WatchABC app. All of the same content will be folded into the WatchABC app, but as stated, they will also be testing out live streaming of the event itself.

Now, this move is not without a few minor blips, in my humble opinion. Not everyone who wants to watch the live broadcast on his or her TVs or mobile device will be able to do so (yet!). The Oscars live-stream will only be viewable to subscribers of certain pay-TV providers"namely, Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, Midcontinent Communications, Verizon FiOS, Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse"in ABC's eight owned station markets. For those of you unfamiliar, those markets are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Fresno, C.A.

If you don't live in one of these areas, don't be discouraged. Keep in mind this is the first year and is a test at that. All viewers, regardless of his or her cable subscription and location, will have access to the second screen experience they call "The Oscars Backstage." This experience pulls live footage from cameras on the red carpet and backstage at the Dolby Theater and gives viewers access to three channels highlighting what's going on behind the scenes during the awards telecast.

For verified viewers using WatchABC, their experience is enhanced with the ability to toggle between "The Oscars Backstage" camera positions, such as the Thank You Cam, Winners Walk, Audience, Press Room, and the live telecast"which is pretty dang cool because if you have a particular favorite contender, you can watch them every step of the way.

The 86th Academy Awards ceremony is set to take place this Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at 7pm EST (4pm PST) at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with an estimated 40.3 million viewers watching. Are you going to be one of them, too?

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is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.

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