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.
Under Roone Arledge
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 to 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.
On August 7, 2014, ABC announced that it would relaunch its radio network division, ABC Radio, on January 1, 2015: the change occurred following the announcement that Cumulus would replace its ABC News radio service with Westwood One News (via CNN). On September 20, 2019, ABC Radio was renamed as ABC Audio as the network has evolved to offer a podcast portfolio and other forms of on-demand and linear content.
On September 10, 2018, ABC News launched a second attempt to extend its Good Morning America brand into the afternoon with Strahan, Sara and Keke. ABC News: Live steaming channel was launched on Roku in May 2019.
ABC News Radio is the radio service of ABC Audio, a division of the ABC News. 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 a 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 of about 30. 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. In 2011, ABC News and Yahoo News announced a strategic partnership to share ABC's online reporting on Yahoo's website; the deal expanded in 2015 to include the Disney/ABC Television Group.
FiveThirtyEight, sometimes referred to as 538, is a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging. The website, which takes its name from the number of electors in the United States electoral college, was founded on March 7, 2008, as a polling aggregation website with a blog created by analyst Nate Silver. In August 2010, the blog became a licensed feature of The New York Times online. It was renamed FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus. In July 2013, ESPN announced that it would become the owner of the FiveThirtyEight brand and site, and Silver was appointed as editor-in-chief. The ESPN-owned FiveThirtyEight began publication on March 17, 2014. In April 2018, ABC News acquired the site from ESPN. In the ESPN/ABC News era, the FiveThirtyEight blog has covered a broad spectrum of subjects including politics, sports, science, economics, and popular culture.
ABC News Live
In 2018, ABC News introduced a streaming media service called ABC News Live, available through Roku, Hulu and the news division's other streaming platforms. Content from the broadcasts is used as well as original content produced for the service.
ABC News Live is a 24/7 streaming video news channel for breaking news and live events operated by ABC News, which launched in May 2018 initially exclusive on Roku. ABC News Live is distributed through the ABCNews.com website, mobile apps, streaming services such as The Roku Channel and Hulu Live and apps on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. ABC News Live also appears in Facebook Watch and YouTube, and Twitter during breaking news.
The ad-supported streaming news channel features content from ABC News and various correspondents and anchors, along with live streaming coverage of breaking news and live events.
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 seven 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 Time Warner'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 eventually shut down seven 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.
Fusion is a digital cable and satellite network that is owned & operated by Fusion Media Group, 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.
Several ABC News programs are broadcast daily on OSN News in MENA.
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.