The short list of TV and internet providers that support ESPN's TV Everywhere play, WatchESPN, just grew by one with the addition of Comcast to a list that already included Time Warner, Bright House and Verizon. Part of a deal reached back in January, ESPN has managed to tie its live streaming service in with Comcast's Xfinity TV protocols, similar to the adjustments made by HBO to open up HBO Go streaming on the Xbox 360. One downside however is that for the moment Comcast customer access is restricted to the website (XfinityTV.com access is coming soon) and iPad / iPhone apps (an update is required first). The Android app that launched a year ago is, for the moment, not supported, although access there is promised "in the coming months." As we heard in January this just the beginning, as similar Watch services will be rolling out for Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior as part of the mouse company's TV+ program. For now those live feeds of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com (Buzzer Beater and Goal Line are available in their respective seasons) will have to do however, as the channels and cable services try to add more features and access to keep subscribers happy, or at least still paying, whether they're at home or away.
WATCHESPN NOW AVAILABLE TO COMCAST XFINITY TV CUSTOMERS THROUGH
WATCHESPN APP AND SOON ON XFINITYTV.COM
Sports Fans Can Now Stream Live Networks Online and on iOS Devices
at Home and On-the-Go
PHILADELPHIA and NEW YORK – May 8, 2012 – Comcast and The Walt Disney Company today announced that Xfinity TV customers can now access ESPN live streaming content via the award-winning WatchESPN app, WatchESPN.com and soon on Comcast's XfinityTV.com at home or on-the-go. In time for the NBA post season, MLB's regular season, Euro 2012 and the Tennis Grand Slams, customers who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their Xfinity video subscription can now stream these events and associated coverage live from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU from the convenience of their iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, as well as online. Also, ESPN Goal Line and Buzzer Beater are available through WatchESPN and XfinityTV.com when those channels are in season. With the addition of Comcast's Xfinity TV customers, WatchESPN is now available to 40 million subscribers.
"Through the launch of WatchESPN, as well as the overall multi-year Disney relationship we announced earlier this year, we are providing millions of customers the opportunity to get more sports and entertainment programming across multiple platforms," said Matt Strauss, Senior Vice President, Digital and Emerging Platforms, Comcast Cable. "The launch of WatchESPN is the first of many launches that we will partner on with Disney, further reinforcing our TV Everywhere commitment."
Added David Preschlack, executive vice president, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, "Customers want access to content wherever they are, and by working with Comcast, we're making it possible. In just one year, we have doubled the distribution of WatchESPN. It's a testament to the consumer demand for these products and the value proposition they deliver viewers."
The free WatchESPN app includes a simple user interface that takes the current online viewing experience to the high-resolution, Multi-Touch displays of iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices. Once a user downloads WatchESPN, they will receive instructions to enter their Comcast Xfinity credentials to access their favorite ESPN content on their device. The WatchESPN app is available free on the iTunes Store. Access on Android devices will follow in the coming months.
Xfinity TV will also integrate all of the content available through WatchESPN on XfinityTV.com and soon to the Xfinity app with tens of thousands of other entertainment choices. Today, Comcast's Xfinity TV offers the most live sports and more than 75,000 TV shows and movies that are available anytime on Xfinity On Demand, XfinityTV.com and through the Xfinity TV app, as well as a suite of tools and features to personalize and manage viewing across screens.
New "Watch" products from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior will debut to Comcast's Xfinity TV subscribers later this year. Similar to WatchESPN, these authenticated products will be accessible across a variety of platforms and devices both in-home and out-of-the-home.
The launch of WatchESPN and future Watch products with Comcast is part of a long-term, comprehensive distribution agreement between Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) that was announced in January, 2012. The agreement will deliver Disney's top quality sports, news and entertainment content to Comcast's Xfinity TV customers into the next decade on televisions, computers, tablets and handheld devices. The new agreement enhances the multichannel business model and supports the companies' mutual goal to deliver the best video content to customers across multiple platforms using the latest technology and cloud innovation. For the first time ever, Comcast's Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch ESPN, ABC or Disney shows live or On Demand and across multiple screens. The companies also agreed to collaborate over the term of the deal to create new, innovative viewing experiences for Xfinity TV customers.