ESPN+ Gains Personalization, Offline Viewing, New Platforms
ESPN+, the $4.99 per month streaming service from ESPN, launched in April 2018, so it's due for a significant upgrade. ESPN is giving it an overhaul with personalization features, the ability to view content offline, and support for more platforms.
With the amount of sports content ESPN+ has, discoverability is an issue. The service now offers personalized recommendations for each subscriber. Recommendations are meant to drive interest in the on-demand library, showing live sports fans related content they might enjoy.
The new offline viewing mode will also drive interest in the on-demand library. Many of the service's original series, specials, and documentaries—including the popular "30 for 30" series—are available offline using the ESPN iOS and Android app. No, the offline mode won't serve up previously aired games.
ESPN+ is expanding availability thanks to ESPN apps now available on 2017, 2018, and 2019 Samsung connected TVs, as well as Oculus devices. The Samsung ESPN app also lets pay TV authenticated customers view all of ESPN's regular content.
Other upgrades in the ESPN iOS and Android apps include an E+ icon that leads subscribers to exclusive programming, an area devoted to UFC "FightCenter," a Browse tab that surfaces content for favorite teams and sports, and a way to access ESPN podcasts.
In related news, ESPN announced yesterday that all Canadian Football League (CFL) games will be available to U.S. subscribers thanks to a multi-year deal. ESPN+ subscribers will get over 65 games per season, while at least 20 games will air live on ESPN networks.
The sports publisher is putting its best talent online, and using Twitter and its mobile app to reach its audience throughout the day.
Sports-lovers will find plenty to watch in the OTT service, including hundreds of MLB, NHL, and MLS games, but they won't find a replacement for cable.
The long-awaited ESPN streaming service is almost here, but it's meant to be an addition, not an alternative, for cable service.