ABC News is the news division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), owned by the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. Its flagship program is the daily evening newscast ABC World News Tonight; other programs include morning news-talk show Good Morning America, newsmagazine series Nightline, Primetime and 20/20, and Sunday morning political affairs program This Week with George Stephanopolous.
ABC began news broadcasts early in its independent existence as a radio network after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered NBC to spin off the former NBC Blue Network into an independent company in 1943. The split (which NBC conducted voluntarily in the event that its appeal to have the ruling overturned was denied) was enforced to expand competition in radio broadcasting in the United States as the industry had only a few companies such as NBC and CBS that dominated the radio market, and in particular, was intended to prevent the limited competition from dominating news and political broadcasting and projecting narrow points-of-view. Television broadcasting was suspended, however, during World War II.
Regular television news broadcasts on ABC began soon after the network signed on its initial owned-and-operated television station (WJZ-TV, now WABC-TV) and production center in New York City in August 1948. ABC news broadcasts have continued as the television network expanded nationwide, a process that took many years beginning with its launch in 1948. However, from the 1950s through the early 1970s, ABC News' programs (as was the case with the television network in general during that period) consistently ranked third in viewership behind news programs on CBS and NBC. Until the 1970s, the ABC television network had fewer affiliate stations, as well as a weaker prime-time programming slate to be able to truly support the network's news operations in comparison to the two larger networks, each of which had established their radio news operations during the 1930s.
Only after Roone Arledge, the president of ABC Sports at the time, was appointed as president of ABC News in 1977, at a time when the network's prime-time entertainment programs were achieving stronger ratings and drawing in higher advertising revenue and profits to the ABC corporation overall, was ABC able to invest the resources to make it a major source of news content. Arledge, known for experimenting with the broadcast "model", created many of ABC News' most popular and enduring programs, including 20/20, World News Tonight, This Week, Nightline and Primetime Live.
ABC News' longtime slogan, "More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source" (introduced in the late 1980s), was a claim referring to the number of people who watch, listen and read ABC News content on television, radio and (eventually) the Internet, and not necessarily to the telecasts alone.
In June 1998, ABC News (which owned an 80% stake in the service), Nine Network and ITN sold their respective interests in Worldwide Television News to the Associated Press. Additionally, ABC News signed a multi-year content deal with AP for its affiliate video service Associated Press Television News (APTV) while providing material from ABC's news video service ABC News One to APTV.
ESPN, a sports-news organization with several cable and satellite television channels – and also majority owned by ABC parent company The Walt Disney Company – provides sports bulletins and video footage for some of ABC News' programs, especially the network's overnight news programs; America This Morning features a segment of sports highlights provided by the overnight anchors of ESPN's flagship sports news program SportsCenter.
ABC News Radio is the radio service of ABC News, a division of the ABC Television Network in the United States. Formerly known as ABC Radio News, ABC News Radio feeds, through Skyview Networks with newscasts on the hour to its affiliates. ABC News Radio is the largest commercial radio news organization in the US.
ABCNews.com launched on May 15, 1997 by ABC News Internet Ventures, a joint venture between Starwave Corporation and ABC formed in April 1997. Starwave had owned and operated ESPNet SportsZone (later known as ESPN.com) since 1995, which licensed the ESPN brand and video clips from ABC's corporate sister ESPN Inc. Disney wanted more control of their Internet properties, which meant ABCNews.com was operated as joint-venture with ABC News having editorial control. Disney had also bought a minority stake in Starwave before the launch of ABCNews.com and would later buy the company outright.
The website initially had a dedicated staff off about 30 people. In addition to articles, it featured short video clips and audio from the start, delivered using RealAudio and RealVideo technology. Some content was also available via America Online.
Satellite News Channel was a joint venture between ABC News and Group W that started on June 21, 1982 as a satellite-delivered cable television network. SNC used footage from ABC News and 7 Washington, D.C.-based crews, in addition to stories from other overseas networks to provide a rotating newscast every 20 minutes. However, this channel had difficulty getting clearance from cable systems, so ABC News and Group W decided to sell it to its competitor, CNN (a subsidiary of TimeWarner's Turner Broadcasting System). CNN ceased Satellite News Channel's operations on October 27, 1983. SNC was either replaced by CNN or CNN2 on most cable systems. Group W would eventually shut down 7 years later, in 1999. Following Satellite News Channel's discontinuation, ABC News did not return to the 24-hour cable news world until 22 years later, in 2004, when they launched ABC News Now, whose launch indicated that Satellite News Channel was ABC News' first attempt in the 24-hour cable news world.
ABC News Now was a 24-hour cable news network that was launched on July 26, 2004 as a digital subchannel by ABC News, being the company's second attempt in the 24-hour cable news world after Satellite News Channel. It was offered via digital television, broadband and streaming video at ABCNews.com and on mobile phones. It delivered breaking news, headline news each half hour, and wide range of entertainment and lifestyle programming. The channel was available in the United States and Europe. Its Talk Back feature allowed viewers to voice their own input through the submission of videos and personal thoughts on controversial issues and current topics. It was shut down as a digital subchannel when Live Well Network was launched. ABC News Now was replaced on cable providers with Fusion on October 28, 2013.
Fusion is a digital cable and satellite network that is owned & operated by Fusion Media Network, LLC, which was a joint venture between ABC News and Univision Communications. ABC and Univision formally announced its launch on May 2, 2012. Launched on October 28, 2013, Fusion features a mix of traditional news and investigative programs along with satirical content aimed at English-speaking Hispanic and Latino American adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Fusion was ABC News' third attempt in the 24-hour cable news world after Satellite News Channel in 1982 and ABC News Now (which it replaced) in 2004. In December 2015, it was reported that Disney was in talks to sell its stake in Fusion to Univision. The split was complete on April 21, 2016.
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In the United Kingdom, ABC World News Tonight airs daily at 1:30 a.m. local time on the BBC News Channel, which itself may be simulcast on BBC One or BBC Two during the overnight hours. Commercials are not presented during the broadcast as the BBC's services in the U.K. are financed through license fees. ABC and the BBC also share video segments and reporters as needed for news coverage in their respective countries.
In Australia, Sky News Australia airs daily broadcasts of World News Tonight (at 10:30 a.m.) and Nightline (at 1:30 a.m.) as well as weekly airings of 20/20 (on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., with an extended version at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays) and occasionally Primetime (at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays, with extended edition at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays). Coincidentally, that country's public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, operates its own unrelated news division that is also named ABC News. The U.S. ABC News maintains a content sharing agreement with the Nine Network, which also broadcasts GMA domestically in the early morning before its own breakfast program.
In New Zealand, ABC World News was broadcast daily at 5:10 p.m. and at again at 11:35 p.m. As with the BBC in the U.K., TVNZ 7 (owned by Television New Zealand) aired the program commercial-free, until the channel ceased operations on June 30, 2012.