Disney: ESPN OTT will be ‘complementary’ to linear network, not an a la carte version

(Credit: ESPN)

Seeking to clarify his company’s announcement of its upcoming ESPN-branded digital platform, Disney spokesman Paul Melvin told FierceCable the site will be merely “complementary” to ESPN’s linear networks and not an a la carte streaming version of them.

“Our linear ESPN networks content will NOT be part of the service. We see it as a complementary service to WatchESPN (24/7 authenticated streaming of nine of our networks, tied to a video subscription),” Melvin said in an email. “We are not selling our ESPN Networks a la carte as part of the new service.”

The new platform will, however, be available direct-to-consumer, without a pay-TV subscription. 

“It will exist alongside our core linear television business and WatchESPN,” he added.

Earlier this week, Disney announced that it will pay $1 billion to purchase a spun off piece of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. That OTT tech services shop, known as BAMTech, will used to launch a new digital ESPN component, Disney said.

So what kind of video programming can we expect on the new platform?

“We are not sharing a lot of detail about the programming on the ESPN-branded DTC service, beyond the fact that it will include content provided by both BAMTech and ESPN, and that it will not include ESPN’s linear network programming,” Melvin said. 

“Though the details are not confirmed at this stage, it is anticipated as a live sports streaming service and that MLB and NHL content, which BAMTech has agreements for would be included,” Melvin added. “Other programming details are going to be announced in the future.”

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