Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Disney Announces ESPN Plus: Is It Too Little Too Late?

Disney Announces ESPN Plus: Is It Too Little Too Late?

Launching ESPN Plus is a significant step for Disney in their quest to capture a major chunk of the audience that's increasingly turning to digital streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.

The success of Disney parks and resorts was driven by new attractions such as Pandora - the World of Avatar in Orlando, which helped increase attendance by 6% across the company's USA theme parks.

I, like many other comic book/Marvel fans hope the deal goes through and Disney is able to bring home The X-Men along with The Fantastic Four and Deadpool. "We plan to invest further in the direct-to-consumer feature, adding more live games and produce sports programming, along with even greater personalisation in the years ahead", he added. At the time, Disney said it wanted to launch a dedicated over-the-top ESPN service.

Speed will a key component of the app's redesign, according to Aaron LaBerge, ESPN's chief technology officer.

Unfortunately, paying for the streaming service won't give users access to what ESPN is broadcasting on its TV channels - you'll still need a cable subscription and log-in for that. He also noted that a few "Star Wars" series could appear on the new service.

Instead, it will live inside the existing ESPN app, which is available on a range of devices, including smartphones, game consoles, and streaming TV boxes and players.

First and foremost, the service might exclude SportsCenter and other programming key to the ESPN channel. Iger says the service will offer access to over 10,000 events, including content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, tennis Grand Slam, and college sports.

Increased attendance was seen at worldwide parks, with Shanghai Disney Resort receiving between 65,000 and 68,000 visitors on one day in October, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call with investors.

The app will provide "countless scores and highlights", as well as access to live streams of ESPN networks for people who subscribe to multichannel pay-TV packages.

ESPN Plus: How much will it cost?

Disney is in the process of creating a ESPN Plus app, that it plans to sell to U.S. customers for $4.99 per month.

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of Disney, has revealed that the company's ESPN Plus streaming service, set for launch in spring 2018, will cost $4.99 per month, with Disney's direct-to-consumer (DTC) service scheduled for "late 2019".

ESPN Plus: When will it be available?

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