Five months after Comcast announced it, its Xfinity TV subscribers now have access to its ESPN gateway to streaming sports and news. Comcast is offering an authenticated app (iOS only, for now) to access WatchESPN.com.
As paidContent describes, this will double the number of households with access to WatchESPN to 40 million. The app gives the viewer more targeted choices than, for example, XfinityTV.com or the Xfinity TV app, by allowing sports fans to select individual programs from across the ESPN network. Still, it is integrated with the Xfinity TV app, which enables viewers to set up remote recording.
But can you advertise on it? Not yet, but soon. LostRemote interviewed Amy Phillips, the Senior Director of Communications at ESPN, who said “We initially stripped out ads but are introducing more and more advertising into streams [but] we’re working with advertisers and agencies to explore those opportunities.”
They will have to, to stay in line with ESPN President John Skipper’s pledge to maintain broadcaster value. Skipper in February commented that the channel will not use digital platforms to draw viewers away from cable and satellite. “We don’t cannibalize ourself, we use those platforms to cross-promote,” with mobile alerts and fantasy game applications, among other offerings. So perhaps ESPN is speaking with its existing advertisers for upsells and cross-media packages.
Right now there are no social features, so it appears the app is in its infancy, design-wise and business-wise.