As Michael Scott would say, “Oh, my God! Okay, it’s happening!”
Disney and ESPN announced today that come April 12th, consumers will see the launch of ESPN+, the new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service that will 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.
The launch of ESPN+ will come alongside a completely redesigned and reimagined ESPN App that the World Wide Leader is billing as the “premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans”.
There are a couple things to note when digesting what this news means for sports fans and the industry as a whole.
- The price is lower than normal carriage fees that cable companies are charging for ESPN and its family of channels.
- Personalization is key.
Currently priced at $4.99 a month, ESPN+ costs consumers over 82% less than what they are paying through their typical cable carriage fees.
Here’s how the carriage fees break down according to What You Pay for Sports:
For a total of $9.09 for cable subscribers to get ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN.
Now, for $4.99, ESPN+ subscribers can get access to thousands of live sports, original content, and on-demand programming. The only downside? No NFL or NBA programming, which for some might be worth the extra $5 a month.
Streaming services like ESPN+ have the likes of Netflix and Spotify to thank for taking streaming to a whole new level by incorporating ways to make the experience more personalized and custom for each user.
When unveiled last week, Bleacher Report and Turner touted the fact that B/R Live will be able to make “finding and watching live sports easy”.
In the release from ESPN and subsequent quotes included from various executives, one word or a variation of it was rather clear, “personal”.
“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….” – Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company
“With ESPN+, fans have access to thousands more live games, world-class original programs and on-demand sports content, all at a great price. They will get all of that as a part of a completely re-imagined, increasingly personalized ESPN App…” – James Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks
It’s this personalization that media companies are finding fruitful as consumers continue to look for ways for their favorite platforms to better suit their needs in the most personal way possible.
In order to differentiate itself from the pack of streaming services attempting to gobble up every free subscription service dollar, ESPN+ is touting its four key pillars of content that include:
- Thousands of live sports events
- High-quality original shows and films
- Exclusive studio programs
- An unmatched on-demand library
As the battle for streaming dollars heats up, the question becomes whether or not there will be enough money to go around.