ESPN to launch subscription streaming service following BAMTech purchase

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The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday announced a $1 billion deal that buys a 33 percent share of BAMTech, a video streaming company whose technology will be used to launch an ESPN streaming service in the near future.




As part of the deal, BAMTech, a creation of Major League Baseball's Advanced Media division, becomes a key partner in Disney's plan to roll out streaming services across its various brands, including ABC and ESPN. If all goes well, Disney has the option to acquire majority ownership rights.

BAMTech specializes in delivering a variety of content through direct-to-consumer products, namely video streaming. Aside from MLB, BAMTech's client list includes HBO NOW, the National Hockey League, the PGA TOUR, WWE Network and more.

In the near term, it appears BAMTech's assets will be applied to an ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service offering users coverage of live regional, national and international sports events.

"Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company," said Disney CEO Robert Iger. "We look forward to working closely with BAMTech as we explore new ways to deliver the unmatched content of The Walt Disney Company across a variety of platforms."

In July, ESPN was rumored to announce a web-based TV streaming package as a sampler to a full-fledged online service, the latter of which would presumably feature content mirroring its cable lineup. The network has been slow to invest in streaming, as doing so might put lucrative cable and satellite deals in jeopardy. Currently, the company fields a free-to-stream app called WatchESPN, though access requires a verified cable account.

ESPN's forthcoming streaming service, while a step up from WatchESPN, will lack marquee shows like SportsCenter and Monday Night Football at launch.

Apple was also said to be in talks with ESPN to add content to an over-the-top service built on so-called "skinny" bundles, or affordable channel packages. The Cupertino tech giant has since put its OTT efforts on hold and is instead redirecting focus to a TV guide for app content.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Definitely frustrating. I have no doubt the quality of the current services will decline as Disney gets their tenterhooks into it. 
  • Reply 2 of 19
    It's dead on arrival without the content that actually draws viewers to ESPN. Also it's a signifigant step down from WatchESPN, as that actually can stream the good content. Either way it stays cable locked.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    The à la carte, pick and choose streaming TV service remains an elusive dream. I really don't think we'll see the "$40 streaming package" that is always in the rumor mill any time soon. The content providers are holding strong along with the satellite/cable industry. And besides, even if Apple or someone else comes up with a streaming package it will be trashed by the resident trolls as too expensive and without enough "choice." Meanwhile the individual subscriptions continue to add up at around $10/mo each. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, etc. Crackle? Pffft. Meh. The free tiers have nothing but old content that gets interrupted by ads, just like broadcast TV. 
  • Reply 4 of 19
    I am really tired of the Disney subsidy as their channels are bundled into every cable, satellite or skinny bundle of internet streaming. I do not have any kids at home, never watch ABC or ABC Family and watch very few sports. Most of ESPN shows are talking heads gossiping about sports. I'll gladly take a pay per view on a game by game basis- I care not for ESPN's endless pimping of the SEC- which they have a business relationship with. I gave up on MLB, the NBA and the NFL years ago. A world of Disney free TV would be nice.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    lkrupp said:
    The à la carte, pick and choose streaming TV service remains an elusive dream. I really don't think we'll see the "$40 streaming package" that is always in the rumor mill any time soon. The content providers are holding strong along with the satellite/cable industry. And besides, even if Apple or someone else comes up with a streaming package it will be trashed by the resident trolls as too expensive and without enough "choice." Meanwhile the individual subscriptions continue to add up at around $10/mo each. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, etc. Crackle? Pffft. Meh. The free tiers have nothing but old content that gets interrupted by ads, just like broadcast TV. 
    Pretty much agree. the best "skinny" bundle I could get was the Sling "Blue" package, which does a decent job of covering our particular family's favorite programming. The addition of Syfy was enough for my wife, and the Fox Sports channels got us our local teams. But there's other content I enjoyed (some of the Discovery programming for instance) that comes with only cable subscriptions. i suspect when all the dust settles few of us will actually pay any less for the a'la carte channels than we would for a current cable package if we want access to the content we actually viewed. 

    Example, TBS has one single program I enjoy, as does TNT. SyFy little to nothing but my wife likes it. The History channel has some but much of that too I don't have much interest in. Still I'd want it. I'd want PBS and the Science Channel too even tho there's not too much even there that I really would like to view. But there is some. Local news of course is problematic without an antenna, tho my local Fox affiliate is now included with Sling. By the time you add up $5-$10 for 20 or so à la carte channels you're going to bump up to that $100 plus anyway. The content providers aren't going to give away programming so we aren't going to see the savings we think we will. On the contrary I expect it to cost even more to see what we want. 
  • Reply 6 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    sog35 said:

    My problem with cable/dish is their horrible dvr's they force you to rent for $10-$20 a month and the horrible user interface. Total POS.

    The fight to require satellite/cable providers to allow third party STBs doesn't seem to be getting anywhere right now. If that were to happen might we see an Apple branded STB with a tvOS style interface and DVR capabilities, along with apps?
  • Reply 7 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    lkrupp said:
    The à la carte, pick and choose streaming TV service remains an elusive dream. I really don't think we'll see the "$40 streaming package" that is always in the rumor mill any time soon. The content providers are holding strong along with the satellite/cable industry. And besides, even if Apple or someone else comes up with a streaming package it will be trashed by the resident trolls as too expensive and without enough "choice." Meanwhile the individual subscriptions continue to add up at around $10/mo each. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, etc. Crackle? Pffft. Meh. The free tiers have nothing but old content that gets interrupted by ads, just like broadcast TV. 
    I don't mind paying the same $$$ as cable.

    People who are looking to Apple to bring a 'cheaper' TV experience are idiots. Since when did Apple ever do cheap? 
    But the rumor is "Apple wanted to do cheap" with a $30-$40 skinny bundle, made possible by low-balling the content owners. The new rumor is it ain't happening so now Apple is pivoting to a "TV Guide" service.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    I don't mind paying the same $$$ as cable.

    People who are looking to Apple to bring a 'cheaper' TV experience are idiots. Since when did Apple ever do cheap? 
    But the rumor is "Apple wanted to do cheap" with a $30-$40 skinny bundle, made possible by low-balling the content owners. The new rumor is it ain't happening so now Apple is pivoting to a "TV Guide" service.
    It was wishful thinking by Apple to be able to get a deal from content providers when they have no leverage.

    Why the hell would they sell $30 TV packages to Apple when the Cable guys are willing to pay $60-$100?

    Apple should just suck it up and sell $60-$100 TV packages like everyone else (including Google Fiber) and make their service stand out because of an awesome user interface, cloud DVR, and integration with other Apple products and services.

    Once Apple has tens of millions of subscriptions then they can play hardball with the content providers.
    So you're claiming Apple execs were idiots for trying to bring a "cheaper" TV experience to market?  Well OK then. 
    singularity
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Eddy Cue needs to go.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    If I could have a custom bundle I'd want:

    NFL football - ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS
    NBA Basketball - TNT, ESPN, ABC
    Jeopardy - NBC


    I can already do this with Sling + Antenna. But the problem is DVR. There is no simple way of recording live TV without paying a monthly subscription fee.

    I refuse to watch any commericals. Even for live sports I record it and start watching 30 minutes after it starts so I can skip all commercials. Commericals are the bane of society.
    I don't pay a monthly fee to record live TV. Watch for Tivo deals that include a single-fee lifetime subscription. IIRC I got my Tivo (direct from them) as a refurb bundled with lifetime service for about $350. And Tivo will now completely one-button skip commercials in certain recorded content if you wish and 30 sec advance takes care of the rest. 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 11 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    If I could have a custom bundle I'd want:

    NFL football - ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS
    NBA Basketball - TNT, ESPN, ABC
    Jeopardy - NBC


    I can already do this with Sling + Antenna. But the problem is DVR. There is no simple way of recording live TV without paying a monthly subscription fee.

    I refuse to watch any commericals. Even for live sports I record it and start watching 30 minutes after it starts so I can skip all commercials. Commericals are the bane of society.
    I don't pay a monthly fee to record live TV. Watch for Tivo deals that include a single-fee lifetime subscription. IIRC I got my Tivo (direct from them) as a refurb bundled with lifetime service for about $350. And Tivo will now completely one-button skip commercials in certain recorded content if you wish and 30 sec advance takes care of the rest. 
    My plan would be to get an antenna for the broadcast channels (Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS) and SlingTV for ESPN and TNT. But I have no way of recording Sling channels.
    Yes I have an antenna for live TV which is what my Tivo DVR uses. 
  • Reply 12 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    Tivo Series 5. I stand corrected on the price too. it was only $300 including lifetime service. 

    When I logged in to check (I couldn't remember, darn chemo-brain) I noticed they were promoting this one, but I didn't get into the details. Looks like it might be worth for you to take a look at it.
    https://www.tivo.com/shop/ota-detail
  • Reply 13 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Tivo Series 5. I stand corrected on the price too. it was only $300 including lifetime service. 

    When I logged in to check (I couldn't remember, darn chemo-brain) I noticed they were promoting this one, but I didn't get into the details. Looks like it might be worth for you to take a look at it.
    https://www.tivo.com/shop/ota-detail
    $399 for this model. Yikes.
    ...says the guy willing to pay hundreds per month for content? IMO it's not a bad deal considering the simple set-up, straight forward interface, functions, features, four tuners for recording other channels while watching another, and especially the "TV Guide" service with no on-going fees. Sure sounds a whole lot cheaper than your cable DVR.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 14 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    $399 for this model. Yikes.
    ...says the guy willing to pay hundreds per month for content? IMO it's not a bad deal considering the simple set-up, straight forward interface, functions, features, four tuners for recording other channels while watching another, and especially the "TV Guide" service with no on-going fees. Sure sounds a whole lot cheaper than your cable DVR.
    If I have 2 TV's would I need to buy 2 Tivos?  Or could I use a TivoMini for the 2nd TV?
    No you don't have to buy two of them.

     From what I'm reading from you Sling plus Tivo covers your viewing wants, tho you won't be able to record Sling content. That's something that NO 3rd party provider will probably be permitted to do, copyright stuff and all. As far as warranty if that concerns you buy the extra 3-year extended warranty like you presumably did with your Apple TV which didn't have more than a year either. And won't record shows either. And doesn't offer multiple tuners. If your Apple TV was $199 how much do you think they would want for your mythical Apple DVR with Tivo capabilities? 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 15 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    If I have 2 TV's would I need to buy 2 Tivos?  Or could I use a TivoMini for the 2nd TV?
    No you don't have to buy two of them.

     From what I'm reading from you Sling plus Tivo covers your viewing wants, tho you won't be able to record Sling content. That's something that NO 3rd party provider will probably be permitted to do, copyright stuff and all. As far as warranty if that concerns you buy the extra 3-year extended warranty like you presumably did with your Apple TV which didn't have more than a year either. And won't record shows either. And doesn't offer multiple tuners. If your Apple TV was $199 how much do you think they would want for your mythical Apple DVR with Tivo capabilities? 
    AppleTV4 is good enough as a DVR already. Its called recording on the cloud. Plus the AppleTV does much, much more that the Tivo can't even dream of. Such as playing games and having thousands of other apps

    Its just flatout ridiculous that a Tivo cost $400. What the hell am I paying for? 

    1. TV tuners. Not neccessary with streaming TV
    2. Hard-drive - not neccessary if all shows are recorded on the cloud and you just need to stream them
    3. TV-guide - give me a break. $15 a month for that!

    Bottom line is Tivo is old tech. There is no reason an AppleTV4 could not be a modern cloud DVR.
    How do you propose to stream local channels and local news? How do you propose to record your local team's NFL game? My Tivo will also strem content from multiple sources. So your Apple TV does games? We have an Nvidia Shield for that (which was cheaper still) and much better gaming compared to anything the Apple TV offers.  

    Nor do I pay another $15 mo for the "TV Guide" service. It's included for "life" with my Tivo. There's zero ongoing fees. So far that Tivo has cost me a total of $300 since I bought it last year. By this time next year it will average out to $12/mo , and by three years it will have cost me a measly $8/mo. Cheap, right? Between multi-device Sling and multi-tuner Tivo $28/mo sounds pretty good to me. 

    I totally understand wanting an Apple system for all your TV, recording, and streaming content viewership. You and millions of others would appreciate one. But don't make up reasons that TIVO isn't a viable solution for a whole lot of folks looking to cut the cord.  You were the one who asked me about it.

    Between getting my recordable local network broadcasts (approx 20 English-speaking stations), Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video via Tivo and cable-only channels on the cheap from Sling what's not to like? 
  • Reply 16 of 19
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,412member
    Might be time Apple bought Atlanta-Scientific or other cable box manufacturing companies.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    If I have 2 TV's would I need to buy 2 Tivos?  Or could I use a TivoMini for the 2nd TV?
    No you don't have to buy two of them.

     From what I'm reading from you Sling plus Tivo covers your viewing wants, tho you won't be able to record Sling content. That's something that NO 3rd party provider will probably be permitted to do, copyright stuff and all. As far as warranty if that concerns you buy the extra 3-year extended warranty like you presumably did with your Apple TV which didn't have more than a year either. And won't record shows either. And doesn't offer multiple tuners. If your Apple TV was $199 how much do you think they would want for your mythical Apple DVR with Tivo capabilities? 
    AppleTV4 is good enough as a DVR already. Its called recording on the cloud. Plus the AppleTV does much, much more that the Tivo can't even dream of. Such as playing games and having thousands of other apps

    Its just flatout ridiculous that a Tivo cost $400. What the hell am I paying for? 

    1. TV tuners. Not neccessary with streaming TV
    2. Hard-drive - not neccessary if all shows are recorded on the cloud and you just need to stream them
    3. TV-guide - give me a break. $15 a month for that!

    Bottom line is Tivo is old tech. There is no reason an AppleTV4 could not be a modern cloud DVR.
    You specifically said you WANTED TV tuners and even wanted the "ugly TV Antenna" as you called it a couple of posts later. Do you need reminding?
    Your quote, post #18: "My plan would be to get an antenna for the broadcast channels (Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS) and SlingTV for ESPN and TNT."
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 18 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,969member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    But the rumor is "Apple wanted to do cheap" with a $30-$40 skinny bundle, made possible by low-balling the content owners. The new rumor is it ain't happening so now Apple is pivoting to a "TV Guide" service.
    It was wishful thinking by Apple to be able to get a deal from content providers when they have no leverage.

    Why the hell would they sell $30 TV packages to Apple when the Cable guys are willing to pay $60-$100?

    Apple should just suck it up and sell $60-$100 TV packages like everyone else (including Google Fiber) and make their service stand out because of an awesome user interface, cloud DVR, and integration with other Apple products and services.

    Once Apple has tens of millions of subscriptions then they can play hardball with the content providers.
    How are they going to deliver it? 
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