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Disney Announces Upcoming Disney+, ESPN+ and Ad-Supported Hulu Streaming Bundle Priced at $12.99 Per Month

During Disney's earnings call this afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that an upcoming streaming bundle that includes access to Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu will be priced at $12.99 per month. The upcoming bundle will be available in the United States starting on November 12, which is the same date that the Disney+ streaming service is set to launch. Disney earlier this year announced pricing for the Disney+ service, which is set to cost $6.99 per month, making it more affordable than many streaming services on the market. Hulu is priced at $5.99 per month with ads and ESPN+ costs $4.99, so the bundle saves customers close to $5 compared to purchasing all three services individually. Disney is planning to make Disney+ available through the Disney+ app, which looks similar in design to Netflix and other streaming services based on a preview shown off in April. Disney+ and ESPN+ content will be available on web browsers, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and game consoles, which is essentially everywhere that you can watch most streaming services. The Disney+ service and the newly announced bundle will compete with Apple TV+, Apple's upcoming streaming service that is also set to launch this fall. Apple has not yet announced pricing for ‌Apple TV‌+.

ESPN+ Streaming Service Launches in Redesigned ESPN App for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

Just over a week after first announcing the name and launch date of its new streaming service, ESPN today launched ESPN+, marking the first direct-to-consumer platform to debut from Disney. ESPN+ is available on ESPN.com and within a redesigned ESPN app for iOS and tvOS devices. For users of Apple's TV app, ESPN+ content is supported in the TV app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. The new app continues to offer free content, including sports scores, news, analysis clips, video highlights, and select live and on-demand sports audio content. "TV Everywhere" access is also still available for subscribers of pay-TV companies. Alongside these features is an area for ESPN+, which includes thousands of live sporting events, original tv shows and films, and more. ESPN says that the app's new design offers an "easy-to-use" interface with enhanced focus on personalization and discoverability. ESPN's content is curated by each user's favorite teams, sports, and leagues, sectioned into five primary navigation menus on iOS: Home, Scores, Watch, Listen, and Sports. ESPN+ is housed in the Watch tab, providing subscribers an "all-in-one digital sports platform," according to the company. ESPN+ is available only in the United States and costs subscribers $4.99/month (or $49.99/year), and a launch week promotion allows users to try the service for free for 30 days. ESPN+ subscribers will have access to HD streaming at 60 fps; live pause, rewind, and restart; limited advertising; and a sports marketplace to purchase additional premium streaming services like MLB.TV and NHL.TV.

New 'ESPN+' Streaming Service Launching April 12 for $4.99/Month

ESPN today announced that it will launch its new streaming service, which it's calling "ESPN+", on Thursday, April 12. The service will be integrated into a "re-imagined" version of the ESPN app, and include thousands of live sporting events, original shows and films, exclusive studio programs, and a back catalog of on-demand content. ESPN+ will cost subscribers $4.99 per month ($49.99 per year), and out-of-market packages for both MLB.TV and NHL.TV will be available during respective seasons for an additional $24.99 per month. ESPN said that more details about its new service will come out in the next few days, including more information on the redesigned ESPN app. ESPN did tease some information about the new app, saying it will include sports scores, news, and highlights, authenticated live streaming with "TV everywhere" video, ESPN Radio and podcasts, the ESPN+ service, and more. For ESPN+, the company is promising subscribers more than 180 MLB and NHL games, a year-round boxing schedule, more than 250 MLS games, college sports, PGA events, and more. James Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, said, “ESPN was built on a belief in innovation and the powerful connection between sports and a remarkable array of fans. That same belief is at the heart of ESPN+ and the new ESPN App. 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 that provides easy,

ESPN iOS App Now Lets Users Stream Shows On Demand

ESPN yesterday announced an update to its iOS app that will let users stream their favorite sports shows on demand from their mobile device. Previously, users of the ESPN app were out of luck if they missed the live video streams of popular shows such as Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption. But that's set to change, according to the channel's latest press release. "Our mission at ESPN is to serve sports fans, and now more than ever, they expect to stream their favorite shows on the device and time of day they prefer," ESPN vice president of digital media programming John Lasker said. "With today's launch, fans can now access an array of ESPN's most popular, award-winning shows – with more to come in the near future – anytime, anywhere."Full episodes of select studio shows are now available to stream on demand under "Latest Episodes" within the Watch tab on the ESPN App. The shows will be accessible shortly after the conclusion of their live on-air telecasts. The full list includes: Around the Horn (weekdays at 5 p.m. ET) College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (Saturdays at 9 a.m. ET) College Football Countdown (most Thursdays at 7 p.m. ET) College Football Live (weekdays at 5:30 p.m. ET) College Football Final (at the conclusion of the Saturday games/post-game show on ESPN2 during the season) The Fantasy Show with Matthew Berry (weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2) The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (weekdays at 10 a.m. ET on ESPNU) Jalen & Jacoby (weeknights at 1 a.m. ET on ESPN2) The Jump (weekdays at 3 p.m. ET) Pardon the Interruption (weekdays at

ESPN's New Apple TV App Lets You Watch Up to Four Live Sporting Events Simultaneously

ESPN is releasing a new tvOS app for the fourth-generation Apple TV that allows viewers to watch up to four live sporting events simultaneously. The multicast feature means a sports fan could, for example, watch two NFL games, an MLB postseason game, and an NBA game on a Sunday in October all at once, with each stream taking up an equally-sized quadrant of the TV. There are multiple viewing modes to select from, including one with a large stream on the left alongside three smaller streams on the right. The idea isn't new—there's a similar two-stream feature in the MLB.TV app for Apple TV—but ESPN says its implementation offers up to four streams and has a streamlined user interface, according to Recode. The new ESPN app should be rolling out as a free update on the tvOS App Store today in the United

ESPN Updates Apple TV App With New Interface, Live Streaming Auto-Play, and On Demand Videos

ESPN today announced a redesign of its Apple TV app that brings live streaming auto-play and ESPN Video On Demand to Apple's fourth-generation set-top box. In addition, the app has been rebranded from WatchESPN to simply "the ESPN app." With live streaming auto-play, users will be able to jump right into the network's stream of sports content with a live video playing immediately when authenticated users launch the app. The new Video On Demand feature will stockpile a collection of user-specific, curated videos that can be browsed and watched at any time, including content from World Series of Poker, X Games, Outside the Lines, and more. Live Streaming Auto-Play: Upon launching the app, a live stream of one of ESPN’s networks will now automatically play for authenticated users. ESPN Video On Demand: A new collection of curated on-demand videos including hundreds of hours of additional content from 30 for 30, E:60, Outside the Lines, SC Featured, World Series of Poker, X Games and more. Sleeker, Simpler User Interface: In addition to visual graphic enhancements to Featured content, users can also browse videos by Sports & Events or Channels. All of the new features are housed in a new UI that boasts "graphic enhancements" to the app's featured content, as well as tweaks to the way videos can be browsed, including search by sport, event, or channel. “From replays to full episodes of on-demand content prior to their telecast premieres, ESPN’s tvOS app is now so much more than our live streaming networks,” said Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of

ESPN to Launch Multi-Sport Subscription Streaming Service in Future

The Walt Disney Company has announced it is acquiring a minority 33 percent stake in BAMTech, a video streaming company previously formed by Major League Baseball, for $1 billion. Disney has the option to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech in the coming years. Disney said it will collaborate with BAMTech to launch and distribute a new ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service in the future. The direct-to-consumer service will feature content provided by both BAMTech and ESPN, and include live regional, national, and international sporting events. The deal will also support streaming video and digital products from ABC and Disney, and future digital initiatives. Disney currently offers a free video streaming service called WatchESPN, but a cable or satellite TV subscription is required for authentication. The new multi-sport service would presumably allow cord-cutters to watch live games and other sporting events on the web, smartphones, and tablets for a set cost per month. ESPN broadcasts MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, NCAA sports, and more. A big caveat: current content on ESPN's networks such as SportsCenter and Monday Night Football will not be streamed. The service will feature sports content not appearing on ESPN channels, including a mixture of MLB and NHL games. Apple's much rumored streaming TV service was originally expected to include content from Disney properties, but the plans were postponed late last year. Apple has a close relationship with Disney, which made the late Steve Jobs its biggest shareholder upon acquiring Pixar in 2006. Disney

Disney Nearing Deal to Own One-Third of MLB's $3.5 Billion Digital Business

The Walt Disney Company is nearing a deal that will net it a one-third stake in Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the streaming division of MLB whose business is valued at around $3.5 billion (via Bloomberg). According to those close to the deal, an agreement between the two companies has not yet been officially finalized, but once it is the contract will allow Disney to purchase another 33 percent of MLB's digital sector over the next four years. Disney currently owns ESPN, which has been reported recently to be facing troubles with its traditional, broadcast viewing numbers with the rise of streaming and web-only packages. WatchESPN offers viewers the option to watch live sports broadcasts on platforms like the Apple TV, as long as they have a cable package that includes ESPN's content channels. Disney has also been a key Apple content partner over the years, due in large part to Disney's partnership with and ultimate 2006 acquisition of Pixar that made Steve Jobs the largest individual Disney shareholder and gave him a seat on the company's board. Long-standing rumors of Apple seeking to launch an over-the-top streaming television service have generally included Disney as one of the key early content partners on board with the project, although Apple has so far been unable to secure all of the deals it would need to launch the service at the price point it wants to hit. Given that the deal between Disney and MLBAM is not yet official, there's no word yet on what the ultimate outcome of the acquisition would entail for the company's streaming services.

Apple Frustrated by Inability to Reach Deals With TV Programmers for Television Service

ESPN president John Skipper spoke with The Wall Street Journal in an interview this morning, revealing some insider details on Apple's struggle to establish deals with content providers for a streaming television service. According to Skipper, Apple is "frustrated" by its ongoing inability to find a mutually advantageous way to work with programmers. Though no deals have been established, ESPN "continues" trying to work with Apple on some kind of partnership. They are creating a significantly advantageous operating system and a great television experience and that television experience is fabulous for sports. We are big proponents of believing it would be a fabulous place to sell some subscriptions. We have ongoing conversations. They have been frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers. We continue to try to work with them.Skipper's comments are in line with recent rumors made by CBS CEO Les Moonves, who said Apple "pressed the hold button" on its streaming television plans after it was unable to establish the necessary deals. Rumors throughout 2015 suggested Apple was aiming to create a web-based television product that would offer a small bundle of channels for $30 to $40 per month. Apple has been attempting to create some kind of television service since 2009, but the company has run into resistance from cable and content providers time and time again because of a reluctance to interrupt existing revenue streams and fundamentally shift the way cable is provided. ESPN's deal with Sling TV, a service that offers

ESPN Brings WatchESPN Live Video Coverage Into Main iOS App

ESPN today announced an update to its iOS app that will let users stream live sporting events from the separate WatchESPN service directly within the core app, a feature that would previously redirect users to a separate download of WatchESPN. Specifically concerning videos, the ESPN app before today's update only allowed for short clips and game highlights. “Offering the convenience of live streaming within one app reinforces the value of the multichannel subscription,” said Sean Breen, Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales, Disney & ESPN Media Networks. “Even with WatchESPN’s recent record-breaking viewership, we continue to be aggressive in driving awareness to a large scale audience and to incentivize video subscribers to authenticate.” ESPN representatives promised that logging into the new app will be the same process as before, and users can expect to see a simple "WatchESPN" tab at the bottom right of the screen. On the iPad, the app will also support multitasking with a picture-in-picture mode that keeps playback rolling even as users leave the app's homepage. The company noted that it will be keeping WatchESPN up on the App Store as a solo, "full experience," for those who specifically want live streaming capabilities and none of the various other game-tracking features of the base app. To use WatchESPN in any capacity, users have to check for support from their cable provider and then link the two accounts within the app. ESPN mentioned that the move to consolidate its two popular mobile apps comes after "record-breaking audience viewership" for

ESPN Merges iPhone and iPad Apps Together to Deliver Unified Experience

ESPN is giving its digital platforms a makeover this week by consolidating its iPhone and iPad apps into one unified experience. The new ESPN app combines what was formerly ESPN SportsCenter for iPhone and ESPN ScoreCenter for iPad into one app that offers universal support for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app has also received a significant redesign and long-overdue support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In addition to a fresh coat of paint, the new ESPN app introduces a revamped ESPN Now that delivers up-to-the-minute sports coverage, including news, photos, videos and social media content. The app has also been updated with Cricket World Cup support, including video clips and scores, just as the international championship kicks off in Australia and New Zealand. ESPN App [Direct Link] requires iOS 8 or

SEC and Longhorn Networks Added to 'WatchESPN' Apple TV Channel

Alongside the new NFL Now channel on the Apple TV debuting today, ESPN has also expanded its WatchESPN channel to include support for college sports with the SEC Network and Longhorn Network. The SEC Network is a brand-new television network created through a partnership between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN. The network launched last week ahead of the 2014 college football season with plans to cover at least 1000 live events per year from the conference's 21 sports. The network consists of a standard SEC Network channel, which mirrors featured content from the SEC Network television channel, as well as an SEC Network + channel with additional coverage. The Longhorn Network is focused solely on the University of Texas at Austin athletic program and is also produced in partnership with ESPN. The network is entering its fourth year of availability, but has just been added to the WatchESPN online service this season. Both networks were added to the WatchESPN iOS app last week, but it has taken a few extra days to make their way to the Apple TV channel. Access to the content is limited to those who have television subscription packages that include the corresponding

Apple Adds ESPN and Local NPR Stations to iTunes Radio

Apple has expanded the content available on iTunes Radio with a new ESPN Radio station and more than 40 local National Public Radio (NPR) stations. First noticed by AppleInsider, the new stations can be accessed directly within iTunes Radio on both iOS devices and desktop computers via a search, though the new stations may be available to some users in the Featured section. The ESPN Radio station on iTunes Radio offers the same live streaming content that is available through traditional ESPN radio affiliates, and the schedule of content can be found on the ESPN Radio website. Content includes national sports talk shows including Mike & Mike, The Freddie Colman Show, The Dan LeBatard Show, and more. Special events, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series, and college football will be broadcast on the station, kicking off with the broadcast of the Atlanta Braves vs. the Colorado Rockies game on Wednesday, June 11 at 5 PM Pacific Time."We are thrilled to make our industry-leading sports talk and championship play-by-play content available to fans via iTunes Radio," said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN production business divisions. "And we are excited to partner with Apple to expand our digital reach. Our fans can look forward to expanded ESPN Audio offerings on both the national and local sports levels in the future."Along with the new ESPN station, there are over 40 new NPR stations from cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Austin, and more. NPR first came to iTunes Radio back in March with the launch of a

ESPN Launches Rebranded SportsCenter App with League 'Clubhouses', Enhanced Game Pages

ESPN has rebranded its ScoreCenter app as ESPN SportsCenter, bringing a visual redesign, a new favorites tab for keeping track of designated teams, and a "Clubhouses" feature that acts as central hub for content from various sports leagues. The redesigned app also includes an inbox for personalized sports content, a search function, and enhanced game pages with one-tap access to GameCast live scoring information. What's New in Version 4.0.0 - ScoreCenter is now SportsCenter - Speed: Faster than Calvin Johnson going deep - Favorites: Your team news and scores in an instant - Clubhouses: Content central for every team and league under the sun - ESPN Now: Your one-stop-shop for real-time scores and social updates - Inbox: A dedicated home for personalized content from news to alerts to scores - Enhanced Game Pages: New native sharing and one-click GameCast access - Search: Easily navigate to teams, leagues, and sports to view content or add to favorites The last major update to ESPN's popularlive scoring app came in December 2012, optimizing it for the iPhone 5 and offering live scoring alerts. ESPN SportsCenter is a free app for iOS devices and can be downloaded through the App Store. [Direct Link]

'ESPNews' and 'ESPN Deportes' Added to WatchESPN App on iOS and Apple TV

ESPN has added two new channels to its WatchESPN apps on the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, according to an ESPN press release. ESPN today officially launched the availability of ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS on WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app and on Apple TV to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider (coming soon to ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members). The launch debuts just in time for the second leg of Spain’s Supercopa Final between Barcelona and Atlético Madrid live on ESPN Deportes at 5 p.m. ET tonight.The channels are available to authenticated pay TV subscribers with the following cable companies: - AT&T U-verse - Bright House Networks - Charter - Comcast XFINITY - Cox - Midcontinent Communications - Optimum - Time Warner Cable - Verizon FiOS TV WatchESPN is a free download on the iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link

WatchESPN Updated With Split-Screen Live and On-Demand Viewing for iPad

ESPN has updated its WatchESPN app with new support for split-screen viewing of content. For example, users could watch a live stream of one of ESPN's many channels while simultaneously pulling up some on-demand video content or live sports scores.The feature is exclusive to newer iPads and the iPad mini currently, but will be coming to other devices like the Apple TV and Xbox in the future.AllThingsD has more on how the feature works:The key here is something ESPN is calling a “live toolbar.” It’s a widget that runs across the bottom of the video screen and lets you pull up data like scores and stats for other games you’re not watching. And, if your attention span can handle it, you can also use it to pull up on-demand video clips, like highlight reels, that you can watch side-by-side with a live feed.What's newIntroducing the WatchESPN Live Toolbar on iPad! Now you can keep up with news, scores and on-demand video from your favorite sporting events while watching live programming on ESPN. The live toolbar includes:- Live TV Lineup: See what's on ESPN's networks and switch to additional ESPN programming without exiting the video.- Scores: Follow additional games while watching your game on ESPN. Launch video highlights at the conclusion of an event (where available).- Top Videos: Watch multiple things at once! Keep up with the latest news and highlights right alongside the live ESPN programming you're watching. Rotate your device while watching two videos.*The Live Toolbar is available on iPad and iPad Mini only.Also new in 1.7:- Users connecting from a

Apple Adds WatchESPN, HBO GO, Sky News, and More to Apple TV

Apple today announced a software update for its Apple TV set-top box adding new channels including WatchESPN and HBO GO. The update also brings live streaming of the UK's Sky News, as well as anime site Crunchyroll and music concert and documentary streaming service Qello.“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.” WatchESPN and HBO GO require that customers be subscribed to appropriate cable TV services, while Sky News offers free live streams and numerous video clips to users in the US, UK, and Ireland. Crunchyroll offers a free 7-day trial to its Anime service, with subscriptions priced at $6.99/month. A more extensive All-Access membership is available for $11.99/month. Qello offers a free 7-day trial to its service, with subscriptions priced at $4.99/month for unlimited access to its library of concerts and music documentaries. It was reported over a year ago that Apple was in talks to bring WatchESPN to the Apple TV, while claims of HBO GO talks surfaced earlier this year. The update arrives as Apple TV software version 5.3 and is available now for the second- and third-generation Apple TV. As part of its press release, Apple also disclosed new statistics on iTunes Store video usage, noting that users have purchased over a billion TV episodes and 380

ESPN Releases Redesigned 'ScoreCenter' App for iPhone

Although ESPN's popular ScoreCenter app for iPad recently received a refresh including a visual makeover, the iPhone version had remained the same and continued to lack support for the taller iPhone 5 display for nearly three months after the device's debut. That changed today as ESPN released a completely redesigned app that takes cues from the iPad version. ESPN released the following statement about the new app:Today, ESPN launched new versions of its highly popular ScoreCenter app for iOS and Android devices. Completely redesigned and optimized for iPhone 5, iPad and new Android smartphones, ScoreCenter serves sports fans with personalized scoreboards, alerts, breaking news and video highlights of their favorite teams and leagues from around the world. With simplified navigation, as well as live, integrated Gamecasts and links to WatchESPN, ScoreCenter makes it easier than ever for fans to follow up-to-the-minute sports news and information wherever, whenever. Other key features: - Expanded game views providing in-depth game coverage - Live scoring alerts for favorite teams and personalized match-ups sent directly to your device - Calendar navigation, enabling access to previous scores and upcoming games - Ability to share favorite games, videos and news with friends The updated version of the free ScoreCenter app is now available for download in the App Store [Direct Link]

Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV

Bloomberg briefly reports that Apple and Disney are in talks to bring sports network ESPN's WatchESPN application [App Store] to the Apple TV set-top box.ESPN subscribers with AppleTV would gain access to the network’s Internet service on their TV sets. [Sean] Bratches, the network’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, spoke in an interview today.The brief report doesn't specify exactly how access to the WatchESPN functionality on the Apple TV would work, but currently customers of a number of cable and Internet companies have varying levels of access to the app's content on iOS and other platforms, which includes nearly all of ESPN's live broadcasts including online-only ESPN3 content. Currently, cable subscribers through Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, and Bright House have full access to WatchESPN content, while subscribers on a host of other Internet services can receive access to the ESPN3 content through the app. WatchESPN being sent to Apple TV via AirPlay iOS device users who are eligible to access WatchESPN content can currently send the content to an Apple TV via AirPlay, but including the app directly on the Apple TV would streamline that process. Update: Bloomberg has expanded its article with additional comments from Bratches:“We’re a platform-agnostic content company,” Bratches, the network’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, said today in an interview. “To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re