Now that its ESPN+ streaming service has more than 1 million subscribers, ESPN wants to make sure they remain subscribers.
While the company has been adding new sports rights to the service (most notably UFC and college basketball games), it is also building out its product: the infrastructure and apps that deliver those games to subscribers.
On Monday, ESPN is rolling out its biggest product update yet since launching ESPN+ nearly a year ago.
ESPN will be bringing one of the most important elements of any streaming service to ESPN+: personalized content recommendations. Long a staple of services like Netflix and Hulu, ESPN will initially be rolling it out for its on-demand programming, such as studio shows, documentaries, and originals.
It will also be launching for ESPN podcasts. Live sports is something that fans tend to watch live.
The company is also launching offline viewing for its shows, series and documentaries, a refined user interface with a browse tab, and an updated “UFC FightCenter” section, with links to live coverage when available
Finally, ESPN+ will be getting its own dedicated icon on the home page of the ESPN app, making access to the service one tap away.
ESPN+ is now available for avowing within the ESPN app on Samsung smart TVs and the Oculus Go virtual reality device.
ESPN+ holds a singular slot in the streaming video space, with its emphasis on live sports. Netflix doesn’t do live programming at all, while Hulu is only in the space through its Hulu with Live TV service.
Still, constant iteration of the product to deliver a more reliable and streamlined viewing experience has become an expected part of the streaming ecosystem, driven by Netflix’s nonstop improvements, which set consumer expectations high.