One thing seems to be clear about the streaming video market these days: Everyone wants a piece of the action. With the popularity of sports streaming, it was only a matter of time before Disney’s ESPN launched its own streaming video app. Called ESPN Plus, ESPN yesterday announced that their new service would be just $4.99 a month. But can it succeed?
Not really, according to several media observers. Even CNN questions whether ESPN Plus will be worth it.
Why Would I Need ESPN Plus?
There are a number of reasons why ESPN Plus is likely going to have a hard time getting off the ground. One, as stated by CNN, relates to the type of audience attracted to ESPN in the first place: hardcore sports fans. Many of those fans already have access to ESPN, primarily through cable subscriptions.
But there’s another nagging problem. The cord-cutter audience ESPN is targeting may also already have access. Most over-the-top TV services on the market today already offer ESPN as part of their base packages. Sling TV, for example, offers ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 with their $20 per month Sling Orange package. With 30 channels, ESPN’s content is equivalent to $3 per month.
Cord-cutters can also get ESPN through YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue or Hulu, among others. All of these streaming services unlock the WatchESPN app just like any other TV provider.7
ESPN will have to make a particularly compelling case with their Plus service to convince their target audience. And unfortunately, their target audience is likely already getting access to ESPN anyway.
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming. He loves whittling down complex ideas within these areas that make decisions easier for buyers. When he’s not reading books with his son Miles and playing video games with the family, you can find him immersed in his growing collection of Euro-style board games.
As a cord cutter and fan of ESPN, I think the biggest reason it won’t work is because there’s nothing on there that people want to watch. It’s stuff ESPN wouldn’t put on their normal TV channels. No Monday Night Football, no basketball, etc. Most likely this is just a beta to work out some kinks while they wait on the market to be ready. They still make a to.of money on cable so they don’t seem to be rushing to find another revenue stream. And we all know that 2019 is when they launch what is sure to be a successful app in their Disney movies and TV app. I’d guess a real ESPN app that people want to see won’t come out until after that.
Good thought, Adam. Not to mention they already have an app for watching live content that you’re paying for through your cable service. If they don’t offer the same as what they offer through a cable service, it’s not really worth it to anyone.