SBD/November 13, 2013/Media

Roku Reaches Deal With ESPN, Disney To Stream Live Programming

Roku reached a deal with Disney & ESPN Media Networks to "stream live cable TV channels and on-demand programming to the device maker’s streaming-media player -- but only for customers with service from a participating pay TV provider," according to Todd Spangler of VARIETY. Starting today, Roku customers who "receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of an affiliated video subscription will be able to access WatchESPN live sporting events and on-demand video." For Roku, the addition of the ESPN and Disney "TV Everywhere" services "brings it to parity with Apple TV, which added WatchESPN in June followed by the Disney channels." DirecTV and Dish Network for now are the "two biggest pay TV providers that don’t have deals to offer the ESPN/Disney Internet services" (VARIETY.com, 11/12). TECHCRUNCH.com's Ryan Lawler noted for ESPN and Disney, Roku is "added to a list of platforms and devices that include the iPhone, iOS, Android, and Microsoft Xbox platforms." WatchESPN’s live content is "available to more than 55 million households, including from providers such as Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision Optimum TV, Cox, AT&T U-verse TV, and Google Fiber" (TECHCRUNCH.com, 11/12). CNET.com's Matthew Moskovciak noted the new slate of apps "doesn't have much to offer cord-cutters, as the apps require authentication with an affiliated cable provider to access content" (CNET.com, 11/12).
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