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TV authentication to watch free ABC Oscars telecast? "That's insane!"

The question was simple: Why do I have to prove I’m a subscriber before I can watch free TV?

Mark Thompson, the radio talk-show host in San Francisco, couldn’t understand this logic. 

ABC is broadcasting the Oscars Sunday. But if you want to watch ABC’s Oscar live stream on a computer, tablet or phone, you have to first prove that you subscribe to cable or satellite. 

Welcome to the downside of the cutting-the-cord era. 

“That’s insane,” Thompson said. ABC “is a free, ad-supported network that would seemingly want more viewers, not less. This doesn’t make any sense. Why would they do that?”

ABC demands authentication for viewing

Few options:Oscars 2020: How to stream the Academy Awards online

Ranking:Cutting the cord: Which cable TV alternatives make the grade

ABC wouldn’t tell us. But we have some hunches. 

ABC is licensed by the FCC to provide free, over-the-air broadcasting, ditto for NBC, CBS and Fox. And yet all put much of their programming behind online paywalls, demanding proof of a cable or satellite subscription before allowing access. 



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