Streaming service launches Disney's OTT aspirations today


"I, personally, am incredibly excited about the potential", new ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro told reporters at the company's CT headquarters.

Created to supplement its flagship ESPN cable network, ESPN+ is Disney's first effort to attract paying streaming subscribers.

"The launch of ESPN+ marks the beginning of an exciting new era of innovation for our media businesses-one defined by an increasingly direct and personal relationship with consumers", the company said in a statement. However, it doesn't offer access to content on ESPN; this is a supplemental app, and won't include NFL or NBA games, but will include MLB and MLS. The rebuilt ESPN app is carrying a presenting sponsorship from Audi.

One recent survey suggested that 56% of cable customers would drop ESPN if it meant not having to pay the $8 per month the channel is estimated to cost each cable subscriber. But it's still worth repeating, at least in part because regular people might reasonably assume that an ESPN streaming service will give you ESPN.

Dubbed ESPN+, the subscription-only, direct-to-consumer service will cost $4.99 per month and launch alongside a redesigned ESPN digital app. Subscribers will gain access to live sporting events beyond those available on ESPN or ESPN2, such as Wimbledon matches or additional Major League Baseball games, as well as the full slate of the network's "30 for 30" documentary series and other original programming.

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The $4.99-a-month service, called ESPN+, offers an array of live sports, including some college games, pro golf and Grand Slam tennis, along with more niche offerings like boxing, cricket and rugby.

It's one of several moves Disney is making to shift to streaming services. There's also Kobe Bryant's new basketball analysis show "Detail", which premieres just in time for the NBA playoffs.

While cord-cutters are now able to get some ESPN content, ESPN+ does not have everything the TV network has.

While this may all only be of interest to sports fans for the moment, there's more in store that could have broader appeal. The app will also be available for Apple and Android TVs, Amazon tablets, Amazon Fire TV products, and Google's Chromecast.

The new ESPN App delivers a unique experience to every fan, while also enabling meaningful curation and presentation from ESPN's unmatched storytellers, journalists and content creators.