ESPN in OTT talks

ESPNESPN sports network has had exploratory talks about offering its programming on connected TV services like those proposed by Google, Sony and Intel. ESPN President John Skipper made it clear, however, that an OTT provider would have to pay as much or more than cable and satellite services.

An OTT provider would have to buy “the whole suite of products,” Skipper said. “We’re not going to offer one-offs.”

The network includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile apps. ESPN is the most valuable channel on pay TV according to SNL Kagan.

Access to ESPN would provide instant credibility against established players like Comcast and DirecTV. But professional sports leagues won’t put a major event online only, Skipper said, though “they all love to float the idea because there will be more competition for rights.”

Sony, Google, Intel and Apple are all trying to obtain programming rights to win TV viewers from cable, phone and satellite companies. Sony recently reached a preliminary agreement with Viacom Inc. for access to programming.

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