Patent Riffs and Links: ESPN’s New OTT Subscription and App

ESPN+ to Launch April 12, Bringing Sports Fans More Live Sports, Exclusive Originals and On-Demand Library – All for $4.99 Per Month | ESPNMEDIAZONE
OTT & VoD – “ESPN+, the upcoming direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content, will launch on April 12 and offer fans a dynamic lineup of live sports, original content and an unmatched library of award-winning on-demand programming – all for a subscription price of $4.99 per month.

ESPN Sets Launch Date For OTT App | DEADLINE
Start with MLB and NHL: “ESPN+ will be integrated into a new version of ESPN’s existing app, which subscribers to a TV bundle can already access. The new OTT service will include live games. (The official release on the launch date has the full laundry list.) The roster at launch includes Major League Baseball and National Hockey League contests starting next season, plus college games, boxing, golf and several other sports. More games are expected to be added as the service matures, though streaming rights are more hotly contested than ever, as the NFL’s recent experiences have shown.”

ESPN Says New Streaming Service, ‘ESPN+’ Will Launch April 12 | VARIETY
“Fans who pay for the service will be able to watch more than 180 different Major League Baseball games and more than 180 National Hockey League matches – about a game per day from each league in season – on the new app, as well as original shows and films and exclusive studio programming. ‘With ESPN+, fans have access to thousands more live games, world class original programs and on-demand sports content, all at a great price, said Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN’s president, in a statement. They will get all of that as a part of a completely re-imagined, increasingly personalized ESPN App that provides easy, one-stop access to everything ESPN offers.”

ESPN+ will launch on April 12th for $4.99 per month | THEVERGE
Disney’s master plan? “ESPN+ is being pitched as a major component of Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming future. It arrives ahead of Disney’s own subscription service (set to debut in 2019), and the company is also expected to take majority ownership of Hulu when its colossal deal with Fox closes. Both ESPN+ and the Disney-branded service are by BAMTech, the streaming division that Disney bought a majority stake in last year… ESPN+ will base its programming on four key areas. At the top of the heap is live sports, but your interest in the service will depend greatly on what it is you like to watch.”

ESPN’s New $4.99 A Month Service Is Taking Away Some Programming On ESPN3 | DEADSPIN
The ‘tres?’ “While certain aspects, like the MLB and NHL games, are brand new, one of ESPN3’s main draws is a wealth of college games in lesser-watched sports or conferences, as well as expanded coverage of Grand Slam tennis and global competitions like cricket…The network has so far been vague about which leagues and games will get cannibalized from ESPN3, or how many, but ESPN did confirm that some of ESPN3’s programming will change…’Most ESPN+ programming will be new and additive, not available to our existing nets (including ESPN3), a spokesperson for ESPN told Deadspin. ‘ESPN3 will still have thousands of live events and, while some content will shift to ESPN+, we will actively program live events across both platforms.”

What ESPN’s New Streaming Service Doesn’t Have and What It Needs | THERINGER
Room for improvement? “For the out-of-market MLS junkie (or die-hard Chicago Fire fan), ESPN+ looks like a godsend. That may also be true of college sports fans who cheer on a team outside of a Power Five conference, along with America’s rugby and cricket fans. But it’s hard to see who else this service appeals to. Who is clamoring for one random MLB game per day (which MLB.TV already offers for free)? Or one random hockey game? And why wouldn’t those fans already have MLB.TV or NHL Center Ice? Who has been waiting for the complementary coverage ESPN promises for boxing, golf, and tennis?”

New ‘ESPN+’ Streaming Service Launching April 12 for $4.99/Month | MACRUMORS
Thirty for thirty… “ESPN+ will be the first direct-to-consumer service from Disney’s new streaming initiative partnership with BAMTECH. In August 2017, Disney revealed a plan to pull its films and TV shows from Netflix in preparation for the launch of its own streaming services. Those plans involved an ESPN-focused service for ‘early 2018,’ and after that the company will launch a platform for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movies in ‘late 2019.'”