September 21, 2018
Disney announced that its new ESPN+ streaming-only service, which launched five months ago in April, has already reached the milestone of more than one million paying subscribers. While it does not carry live streams from ESPN’s television channels, the $4.99-per-month streaming service offers original studio programming and sports content including MLB and NHL games, college football and international soccer matches, in addition to Top Rank Boxing and UFC mixed martial arts.
Surpassing one million subscribers in five months is significant since numerous media companies are “trying to launch their own direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, so this is a data point that suggests there’s room for more players,” explains Recode.
“This should give Disney (and, not coincidentally, Disney investors) some confidence in the prospects for the yet-to-be-named Disney movie streaming service it plans to launch next year, which has much bigger ambitions and stakes.”
Although ESPN converted ESPN Insider subscribers to ESPN+ customers during the summer, notes The Wall Street Journal, “the company said the ‘vast majority’ of the one million paying customers are new ESPN+ subscribers who signed up since April.”
According to ESPN president James Pitaro, who took the helm in March, “combining sports, technology and the ESPN brand is a very powerful combination, and we are just getting started.”