ESPN mulls Web-based TV deals, could open door to Google, Sony, Intel

Arguably the biggest and baddest of all pay TV content providers, Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) ESPN sports network could become a part of an over-the-top Internet TV service from an outsider-looking-in like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Sony or Intel (Nasdaq: INTC).

That's the word from Bloomberg which said that ESPN President John Skipper is at least considering the idea, as long as the Internet TV guys paid as much or more than cable and satellite providers.

And, of course, the non-traditional carrier would have to carry the whole traditional lineup.

"We're not going to offer one-offs," Skipper said in the article.

That means that more lightly watched ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile applications now part of pay TV lineups would become part of an Internet play as well.

ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca made it clear that the talks were "exploratory."

Still, that's the kind of gold mine that newcomers like Sony, Google, Intel and even Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), if it ever becomes serious about TV, would like to explore. ESPN is arguably the crown jewel of any TV lineup--so much so that Disney has been able to tack a bunch of other less interesting content onto any ESPN transmission package.

For more:
- Bloomberg carried this story

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