The cable industry is in turmoil. Amid excessive pricing and the emergence of services like Netflix, the value proposition offered by traditional cable companies is arguably less compelling than it’s ever been. Underscoring this shifting market dynamic, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that ESPN in the last year alone has lost upwards of 3.2 million subscribers. Given that ESPN has long been the most profitable cable channel, this data point is certainly eyebrow raising.
Verizon isn’t a company that we normally think of as a champion for consumers. However, it deserves a good deal of credit recently for its bold decision to start offering its FiOS customers slimmer bundles of channels that may or may not include ESPN on them. As Re/code reports, ESPN has now sued Verizon for allegedly violating its agreements to not break up its channels into smaller bundles. While ESPN may very well be in the right legally, I still can’t help but root for Verizon here. More →
WatchESPN, an app that allows users to stream live TV content to devices over Wi-Fi or cellular data connections, is now available for Android devices. ESPN released the app for the iPhone and iPod touch last month and we’ve definitely been enjoying it, so seeing the network follow up with an Android app last week was most certainly welcomed. WatchESPN streams live content from ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com provided you subscribe to a cable TV package from one of ESPN’s partner companies. If your cable provider isn’t among those listed by ESPN, however, you’re unfortunately out of luck. More →
ESPN has announced that its new WatchESPN application is now available for iOS devices including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The free app provides content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN3.com to Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Verizon FIOS TV customers, and allows subscribers of those networks to stream content on their iOS devices. After installing the app, you’ll need to provide your cable subscriber credentials before accessing the goods. ESPN says that a version that’s specifically optimized for the iPad will launch – for free – in May. It also has plans to launch on other smartphones and tablets in the future, which suggests that an Android version is in the works. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Here’s another reason for Samsung Captivate owners to be aggravated after yesterday’s debacle — Android phone owners with Android 2.2 (Froyo) or later now have access to streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, ESPN 3, Fox, Comedy Central, Spike, CNN, PBS and more thanks to the arrival of PlayOn for Android. PlayOn, MediaMall Technologies’ premier product, allows Windows PC users to stream popular video content from their home computers to a TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device. Setup is incredibly simple and content can be streamed to Android devices over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. MediaMall offers a free two-week trial of PlayOn to new users and then charges $39.99 for the first year of service and $19.99 for each following year. Alternatively, a $79.99 lifetime subscription is available as well. The PlayOn app for Android is available immediately in the Android Market. Hit the jump for MediaMall Technologies’ full press release along with a video explaining how it all works. More →
At E3 this afternoon, Microsoft announced that it will be bringing over 3,500 live sporting events a year to the Xbox 360 via a partnership with ESPN. The new alliance will bring ESPN3 content, polls, instant replays, and social data directly to your Xbox gaming rig, complete with Kinect integration; all that is required of you is an Xbox LIVE gold membership and a love of sports. More →
Good news for all of you football soccer fanatics, as two major wireless carriers — Sprint in the U.S. and Rogers in Canada — have announced that their subscribers will be able to watch the historic tournament unfold before their very eyes on their mobile phones. In the U.S., Sprint has entered into a partnership with ESPN to make 56 of the tournaments 64 matches available through ESPN Mobile TV. This service will be provided as a part of Sprint TV and will be free to anyone who has a Everything Data plan. In Canada, Rogers Wireless will allow its Rogers on Demand Mobile subscribers with an Android, BlackBerry or iPhone device to watch all 64 matches from their phone the Rogers on Demand Mobile app. The caveat here is that the service costs $5 per month in addition to a one-time $10 fee to enable access to World Cup coverage. You Canadians are hip enough to the scene to know that was to be expected, right? More →
Hulu may be getting a healthy dose of new programming content courtesy of Disney. According to sources close to the situation, Hulu and Disney are in serious negotiations to bring Disney programming to the online video portal. The talks reportedly focus on ABC programming content which include the popular TV series Desperate Housewives and LOST, but may include programming from other Disney assets as well. In exchange for providing content, Disney is requesting an equity stake in Hulu on par with NBC Universal and News Corp and possibly performance incentives. With the relationship between Hulu and CBS souring, Hulu could use a high profile deal to boost its position in the increasingly competitive online video marketplace.
Football commentary goes virtual today when ESPN’s NFL Countdown will debut EA Sport’s new Virtual Playbook technology. A specialized digital studio camera and an adaptation of EA’s Madden NFL video game will combine to create a virtual field filled with virtual players and live commentators. Commentators can use the gaming engine to analyze team strategy, recreate plays, and simulate “what if” scenarios (what if Eli Manning scrambled instead of throwing to David Tyree on 3rd and 5 with 1:15 remaining, would the Giants still have come home winners?). We don’t know but maybe this new Virtual Playbook technology can tell us. Anyway, starting ttoday our NFL football commentary will be reduced elevated to grown men dancing around inside a video game, interacting with virtual players. Kinda freaky, yet really cool.