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.