ESPN, ABC Sports Tune Into iTunes

Walt Disney Co., looking to one-up the competition for portable entertainment, will now offer football games through its deal with Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store deal.

The new addendum to the ground-breaking deal made last year will include programming from ESPN and ABC Sports--such as the recent Bowl Championship Series games that were seen this past weekend as well as games through tomorrow--Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose Bowls.

But the games aren't full games--instead, they are offered as condensed 15 minute-long shows with no commercials. They can be purchased for $1.99 each--just like other TV programs on iTunes. The deal will make ESPN and ABC Sports the first company to provide sports programming to the iTunes Music Store.

In addition, other content from the Walt Disney family will be included from Touchstone Television, ABC Family, ABC News, Buena Vista Television, Disney Channel, SOAPnet, and Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Content from the ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television library will include "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "School of Rock." From ABC News, there will be free, ad-supported video podcasts including segments from "Good Morning America" and "World News Tonight."



All of the Disney-ABC content will continue to be commercial-free except for the ABC News segments. Additionally, ESPN will be offering "This is SportsCenter" commercials, free through the iTunes Music Store.

ESPN will also offer interviews from its "SportsCentury" show and from its lineup of ESPN Original Entertainment programs--including "Knight School," a new reality program featuring Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight. "Knight School" will premiere first on iTunes before starting its exclusive run on ESPN.

All this activity will supplement the original deal that Disney made with iTunes which includes shows from Disney-ABC Television Group--"Commander in Chief," "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," "That's So Raven," and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."

Since ABC made its major deal with iTunes, NBC Universal was the second media company to make video programming deals--an agreement that has been more extensive than Disney's original deal.

NBC has more shows on iTunes--11 programs--as well as getting more cross-marketing support, including separate NBC program pages on the iTunes site as well as specific tune-in information that drives viewers back to traditional television.

NBC also touts the iTunes Music Store through on-air "swipes"--promotional/information graphics that run on the bottom part of the TV screen when a show is aired.

Next story loading loading..