ABC Owned Station Group Updates Its Local News App With a Bold Redesign

Hammers hard on customization and personalization

The app's update enables users to access video livestreams.

It’s been a busy week for the Walt Disney Company, which announced Thursday it’s acquiring 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion. While the deal doesn’t include the Fox Station Group, that didn’t stop Disney’s ABC Owned Television Stations Group from making news of its own. The group is updating its local news app, which will provide more video offerings and a number of other user-friendly functions.

Local news has been slower to adapt to the over-the-top world than larger national TV news outlets. But ABC, which boasts multiple stations that are No. 1 in their respective markets, is looking to change that. The local stations are making a strong play at attracting younger, tech-savvy news consumers, and making noticeable improvements to the app is one way to do exactly that.

When you open the app, a “Top News” section automatically shows up. The user can check out the day’s top headlines and breaking news. There’s a “My News” feature that lets users select topics and locations. In addition, users can get personalized alerts about their specific topics and locations. There’s also an “Explore” feature, which lets users check out local news, sports, entertainment and weather in a number of U.S. markets.

All of the ABC stations will see enhancements to the app. Those include WABC-TV (New York),  KABC-TV, (Los Angeles), WLS-TV (Chicago), WPVI-TV (Philadelphia), KGO-TV (San Francisco), KTRK-TV (Houston), WTVD-TV (Raleigh-Durham) and KFSN-TV (Fresno).

“This is our boldest refresh to date, designed and modernized for the mobile news consumer,” said ABC Owned TV Stations Group president Wendy McMahon in a statement. “With ‘My News,’ viewers can have a personalized local news experience, programming a feed and opting into alerts around the issues and areas that are most important to them.”

McMahon also pointed to new video features including live news broadcasts and switching between livestreams.

“The video offerings are also more robust—enabling our audiences to always be connected to the local brands and content they trust,” McMahon said.