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Disney reveals $4.99 ESPN Plus streaming service that, erm, doesn't let you watch ESPN

This seems like a missed opportunity.
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Mindful of the rise of Netflix and Amazon, Disney is pushing forward with plans to release its own streaming services.

First up is its sports subsidiary, ESPN, with Disney revealing on Tuesday that its new streaming service, ESPN Plus, will launch this spring.

It will cost subscribers $4.99 a month, but there seems to be one glaring thing missing from it.

You can't use it to watch ESPN or ESPN 2 live.


– Are online streaming packages cheaper than cable?

As The Verge notes, those channels will still be exclusive to subscribers to cable TV packages or online TV services such as Sling, YouTube TV and Hulu Plus.

This means the $4.99 service accessed through the ESPN app won't allow you to watch SportsCenter or Monday Night Football.

So what do you get for it?

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that ESPN will still offer "an incremental thousands of hours of live sports programming" for subscribers through its main mobile app.

They will also have access to new and existing original programming, including the entire back catalog of ESPN's popular 30 For 30 series.

'A huge miss'

TechCrunch argues that not giving subscribers access to live ESPN is a "huge miss," and Disney will have to provide live programming that's enough to encourage people to shell out for yet another streaming service on top of those it already has.

Recode is even more damning, saying: "ESPN Plus will have stuff that ESPN doesn’t think is valuable enough to put on regular TV — or even on ESPN Watch, the digital bonus service it bundles with ESPN subscriptions. So this stuff has to be niche, by definition."

As for the "live" sports, it says: "Think small college sports. Or tennis tournaments that aren’t one of the major tennis tournaments. That kind of thing."

Next year, Disney will launch its own streaming service for its catalog of animated movies, and Marvel and Star Wars content, which will see it pull much of its own content from Netflix.

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