ESPN is said to have held “preliminary talks” concerning making all of its channels available to stream online through Internet-powered television sets, such as those rumored to be in development by Apple, Google, Intel, and Sony.
The news comes in a Bloomberg interview, in which ESPN president John Skipper notes that the Disney-owned sports network is interested in selling its packages online. ESPN’s Web-based offerings will include the network’s main channel, ESPN2, and ESPN News, the report explains:
A Web-based service would have to buy “the whole suite of products,” Skipper said. “We’re not going to offer one-offs.” The network includes the flagship channel, plus others such as ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile applications offered to existing pay-TV subscribers.
Access to ESPN would give new online TV providers instant credibility and a foothold to compete with established players like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV. The network is the most valuable channel on pay TV, garnering the highest subscriber fees on basic cable, according to researcher SNL Kagan.
Of course, an Internet-based ESPN would mean that the array of Internet-powered HDTVs rumored to be in development, such as the anticipated Apple HDTV, would be able to access the sports network – for a price. As a reminder, an Apple HDTV is said to have been in the works for some time, though when exactly the Cupertino, Calif. company plans on launching its long-rumored product remains unclear.
ESPN has held preliminary talks only, and so far no agreements have been made. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
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