ABC doesn't need Ellen DeGeneres and a selfie-full of celebs to have a full-on tech crisis. The 2014 Academy Awards was all set to be the first Oscars broadcast available for livestreaming. ABC, which is famous for being behind the times (like Sidney Poitier, Bette Midler-singing-"Wind Beneath My Wings" levels of behind the times), placed comically harsh restrictions on this inaugural stream. In order to access the stream, viewers had to prove that they were pay-cable subscribers in one of only eight designated markets. Because if you're not a Comcast customer living in San Francisco, you don't deserve to celebrate the year in cinema.
The fact that it's 2014 and I can't stream the #Oscars online because I don't live in one of the 8 major cities ABC selected, is just rude.— Nina Kadjar (@ninakadjar) March 3, 2014
Unfortunately, even after severely limiting its number of potential streaming viewers, ABC online was unable to deliver. Livestreams were “down nationwide due to a traffic overload/greater than expected,” the network told Variety in an email. (ABC says that by 10:45 Eastern everything was restored, meaning those who spent two hours and fifteen minutes clicking refresh were vindicated.)
Irate Ellen DeGeneres fans and Lupita Nyong'o enthusiasts took to Twitter to complain about live stream errors and general ABC incompetency. We can summarize the three and a half hours of Oscars content for shafted viewers. Better luck next year!