ABC News Now Off the Air


The Walt Disney Co. has pulled the plug on its ABC News Now digital network in an effort to re-evaluate the service’s cable future.

Disney bowed the channel in July to 6.5 million digital subscribers within Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Adelphia Communications Corp. systems through each MSO’s respective retransmission-consent deals with ABC owned-and-operated TV stations.

The “experiment” was supposed to end last November, but ABC decided to keep it running beyond the 2004 presidential elections after positive viewer feedback.

The service -- which launched last summer, featuring exclusive news coverage from such well-known personalities as Peter Jennings and segments from network newsmagazines like Primetime Live and 20/20 -- will continue to operate on a broadband and wireless platform, network executives said.

“With the [presidential] inauguration last week, it seemed like the time was right to conclude this trial phase and consider what our next steps are,” ABC News spokeswoman Julie Summersgill said.

“We‘re taking a half-step back to see what worked, what we think we can improve on and what our next steps are,” she added. “There’s no doubt that the news division is bullish on the long-term prospects of reaching the ABC News consumer at their convenience.”