The Walt Disney Co.’s direct-to-consumer and international segment Sept. 20 announced that ESPN+, the subscription streaming video service, has surpassed 1 million paying subscribers since its April launch.
The $4.99 monthly service ($49.99 per year) represents Disney’s first foray into branded standalone OTT video – a strategy Disney began implementing with the $3.75 billion acquisition of BAMTech in 2017.
“Reaching one million paid subscribers … in such a short time is an incredible testament to the teams from DTCI and ESPN who have worked tirelessly to bring this product to market,” Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct-to-consumer and international, The Walt Disney Co., said in a statement.
ESPN+ is intended to complement the ESPN pay-TV network, while focusing on global sports and original programming, including new “30 for 30” documentary, “Seau” (directed by Kirby Bradley); original studio programs, “Always Late with Katie Nolan”, “Detail” from Kobe Bryant, “The Fantasy Show with Mathew Berry”, “ESPN FC”, “In The Crease”, “Ariel and the Bad Guy” with Ariel Helwani; original series like “Earn Everything” about Duke Basketball, “NBA: YearOne”, “Draft Academy” and “Quest for The Stanley Cup”; and the entire “30 For 30” library, among other shows.
ESPN+ is part of the ESPN app available across mobile (iOS, Android) and living room devices (Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku. ESPN+ is also available on the Web through ESPN.com.
An update to the ESPN App (v 6.2) last month integrated “ESPN Insider” into the ESPN+ service, enabling subs access to editorial analysis on players, teams, and leagues, as well as analytics tools to help users get an edge in their fantasy games.
ESPN+ subs get a differentiated advertising experience throughout the entire ESPN App or website, with no display ads and no pre-roll ads within video content (ads remain in the natural advertising breaks of live sports content).
“Combining sports, technology and the ESPN brand is a very powerful combination,” said Jimmy Pitaro, president of ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.