ESPN+ will launch April 12 for $4.99 per month
ESPN will launch its over-the-top (OTT) streaming app next week, the company announced Monday. ESPN+ will feature live programming, live sports events and a library of other programming like ESPN's popular 30 for 30 series.
Why it matters: ESPN is looking to migrate its linear TV audience to streaming in response to the rapid succession of its audience on linear TV. (ESPN has lost roughly 12% of of its traditional TV subscribers in six years.)
The big picture: ESPN+ is the first direct-to-consumer service offering from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI), which is the multi-platform technology and distribution organization --- in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content. It's entertainment direct-to-consumer service will launch next year with content from Marvel, Pixar, etc. and possibly new content assets from a potential merger with 21st Century Fox.
- Both streaming services will be powered by BAMTECH, a leader in streaming technology which Disney purchased a majority stake in last year.
Our thought bubble: ESPN, while still a nationwide leader in sports production and storytelling, will face competition in the sports streaming space.
- Turner last week announced the launch of its live sports streaming service, “Bleacher Report Live."
- CBS and NBC have launched similar live sports streaming services.
- While the $4.99 price point is significantly lower than the cable fee consumers pay currently to access ESPN on traditional TV, which is roughly $8, ESPN will need to make sure it can get consumers to pay that price without the service being tacked onto a larger cable bundle.