ESPN jumps on board with Apple’s single sign-on feature


ESPN and WatchESPN apps will now work with Apple’s recently announced single sign-on feature.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, which spotted the updates to ESPN’s app, the ESPN TV Everywhere apps can now be authenticated within the Apple TV settings. The ESPN iOS app also now supports Chromecasting to allow users to share video to any Chromecast-connected or -enabled TV.

Apple’s single sign-on feature works with providers like Dish Network and DirecTV but was shunned early on by cable companies including Comcast and Charter.

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Comcast told FierceCable last month that it has no plans to support Apple TV’s new single sign-on feature and will instead continue to work with Adobe and Synacor, and industry group CTAM, to develop a universal authentication process.

“We have made great progress and expect to enable SSO next year,” a Comcast rep said. “We are focused on helping create an open standard that is platform agnostic and easily adoptable, and will continue to share our best practices with the industry through CTAM and the OATC (Open Authentication Technology Committee).”

For ESPN, streamlining the authentication process for its TV Everywhere apps could be viewed as an attempt to stop the rapid loss of subscribers the sports network had endured lately.

During parent company Disney’s third quarter earnings call in November, ESPN’s revenues were dinged by lower advertising and affiliate revenue paired with higher programming and production costs. But Disney CEO Bob Iger remained positive about ESPN and said ESPN’s inclusion in live streaming services like DirecTV Now and Hulu’s product will help get the sports network in front of a millennial age group.

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ESPN is also in the process of building a direct-to-consumer product. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy didn’t offer many new details during a recent investor conference but she did promise that a direct-to-consumer ESPN service would launch in 2017 and that it would feature sports and sporting events that are not on ESPN’s linear networks.