Why ABC is not Streaming the 2013 Oscars – and what you can do about it.


Check back, update for 2014 coming soon…

So just like last year, ABC chose not to stream the actual broadcast from the Oscars on their official site. Once again they will have complementary content online, and also the “Official Oscars App” with similar content. This includes things like backstage and red carpet cameras. I believe doing this protects the value of the actual broadcast which is measured in percentage share of total audience.  The higher the share, the higher the value, the costlier the commercial.  Also all those “second screens” (smart phones, laptops, tablets) can be monetized with separate content, and separate ad revenue.

Academy Award Winner by Dave_B_ on Flickr

Academy Award Winner by Dave_B_ on Flickr

So who is this a problem for anyway? Last year the  complaints I heard were from two categories:

1. Rural households without access to an ABC broadcast.

2. Americans living abroad wanting to tune in.

In either of these cases the viewer has a broadband connection but no ABC connection. So what can you do?

Well my first thought was maybe the new Roku TWC partnership would at least enable someone willing to actually pay for ABC to get it, but after reading through some of the comments over at DSLreports I realized that’s not gonna happen.

Then I thought maybe a VPN set-up might work, similar to the way we watched the BBC version of the  2012 Olympics.  But no, that only worked because BBC live streamed it.

Damned it this isn’t feeling just like the live sports situation. Sure you could have a friend DVR it for you, or even use a torrent but what good is that? The event loses all it’s mojo after real-time.

Unfortunately I know of NO LEGAL WAY TO WATCH ABC LIVE FROM OVERSEAS.  ABC has given you little choice but to scan around the net for some sketchy streaming site.  Caution: if you Google something like 2013 Oscars streaming you’ll be overwhelmed with garbage sites filled with ads and malware. At the present my old standby sports sites are not streaming anything but sports. Check back between now and the broadcast and I’ll update below with any streams that seem to work. Add comments if you have info.

Possible streaming sites for ABC 2013 Oscars:

1.  An article by MIT Technology Review points out that Aereo may be streaming the Oscars.

2. First Row shows ABC links on Saturday, but no guarantee these will be working Sunday with the Oscars.

3. This looks legitimate. Canada’s CTV site says they will live stream the Oscars. Will we need a proxy to access it?


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13 Responses to Why ABC is not Streaming the 2013 Oscars – and what you can do about it.

  1. Bob says:

    What about USTV now or Filmon, both legitimate sites that have free or pay options.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Bob,
      Maybe. Can you verify that you actually see anything live on these? You could test it with the Miss America broadcast that comes on tonight.

      UPDATE: I tested it but everything I click is “not available in your area”. I see in the FAQ this is “USTVNow is intended as a free service exclusively for Americans living overseas”. So it has some promise as a solution here. To test it I would put in something like expat shield and pretend I’m in UK.

  2. len says:

    Not a fan of the oscars, but, in general, I think relief is coming for cord cutters who want broadcast but do not want to deal with the hardware.

    Aereo announced at CES that they would be going national this year. You could rent for a day to watch something like this or pay $80/yr. I think that will relieve a lot of frustrations. Not years, though — I do not see San Diego on the list.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Len,
      I thought about Aereo but didn’t mention it in the post. I looked to see how they do NYC. They make it available to limited areas:

      “The Aereo market area is comprised of the following zip codes in and around New York City.”

      Now how they verify you actually live there I don’t know. Perhaps you could VPN to a server close enough to make Aereo work? Thoughts?



  3. len says:

    I’m SURE I did not type years. Not YOURS.

    • Greg says:

      Hate when that happens. You can edit your own comment though. right?

      • len says:

        If I can edit my posts, I’m too stoopid to figure out how.

        Aereo uses your billing address to determine eligibility. There are a lot of zips for New York. They have $38m to do the next phase and just won a law suit which will encourage others to enter the market.

        The issue, as I see it, is what happens next. Some think this will kill off broadcast since cable companies will say they are doing the same for their subscribers and pay less to broadcasters for local content. Others say broadcasters will thrive because their ad revenues will soar due to increased audience.

        Personally, I do not see this as having much impact unless they figure out how to make it work with streaming boxes. Antenna is still cheaper and pulls more channels. Cable costs more, but provides much more content. Seems like a niche to me.

  4. Augustine says:

    Here’s a wild thought: the Oscar ceremony is usually broadcast in my home country, Brazil, with most of the original audio and some local voice-over comments. However, in Brazil it’s legal to re-broadcast a broadcast signal, even in other mediums, like over the Internet. There are dozens of sites, many local Brazilian TV sites, that have a live feed through the Internet. Perhaps there are countries with the same permissive laws, but whose common language in English.

    • Greg says:

      That is interesting, though I doubt ABC would see it that way. I wonder why Brazil broadcasts the Oscars and some other countries do not. In any case maybe you can share with us one of those Brazilian streams if you know of one.

  5. Bob says:

    Hi Greg, USTV works and is also available on Roku, I registered with my facebook, I don’t remember if I used a proxy account, as I said just checked and was able to watch Broncos-Ravens game on now. Check out this link for Roku.


    • Greg says:

      I tried it from laptop with ExPat Shield installed and none of the videos ever came up, just buffered endlessly. You seem to have better luck with these. Are you using the pay option?

      I’m curious about the Roku channel. USTV seems less than legal – you know all these networks didn’t sign up to have their content streamed. It would be like Roku decided to put on Aereo as a channel.

      Interesting discussion about USTVNow on the Roku forum. A private channel apparently.

      • bob says:

        I have ustvnow installed on Roku, hd picture, it’s only good for 90 days though, then you have to have payed subscription. But ustvnow basic is available on your pc forever. Again, I don’t remember if I used a proxy to register, I don’t have the pay option. Did you try filmon? Their basic service provides local channels for free, except FOX isn’t available. I just went through the registration process on ustvnow again and said I was in the US, said when I traveled abroad I could activate account, but I’m able to watch in US.

  6. Bob says:

    And Filmon does work, they have free and pay options, the pay option allows for better quality video feed.

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