ESPN+ Streaming Service Starts April 12

ESPN+ -- ESPN's answer to growing demand for over-the-top (OTT) media consumption and traditional pay TV declines -- will start up April 12, priced at $4.99 a month.

ESPN, the Walt Disney-owned media brand, says ESPN+ will be an integrated part of a completely redesigned and reimagined ESPN App -- an “all-in-one digital sports platform for fans.”

It will feature live sports, original content and a library of on-demand programming. ESPN+ will also be available through Disney executives have been discussing the new service for a few months.

Many media observers believe the app may also resolve the problem of consumers leaving high-cost traditional pay TV packages -- so-called “cord cutters” -- who have impacted the ESPN cable networks and many other cable TV networks.



At the same time, sports viewing has shifted to many digital media platforms.

The app comes from Disney’s new realigned Direct-to-Consumer and International group -- which houses media, technology and distribution of content created by Disney’s Media Networks and Studio Entertainment groups.

This is the group’s first effort for a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service. A Disney subscription movie service -- featuring Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm movies along with exclusive content -- will be launched in late 2019.

Disney's technology unit, BAMTECH, a unit of Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, is backing the services. ESPN recently named Disney veteran James Pitaro president of ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.

More programming details will be announced in the coming days, according to the company.

In the near term, ESPN+ will air more than 180 Major League Baseball games -- a game per day throughout the season. And beginning with the 2018-19 NHL season, ESPN+ will air more than 180 games, also a game per day throughout the season.

Consumers can also buy ESPN+ on a annual basis for $49.99 a year.

In addition, sports fans can purchase the entire MLB.TV out-of-market package via ESPN+, viewing the games within the ESPN App. MLB.TV will cost an additional $24.99 per month.

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