Disney’s ESPN mulling deal to distribute TV shows via Apple’s iTunes Store

“Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN cable sports network is mulling a deal to distribute some television programs on Apple’s iTunes music and video service, possibly joining its corporate cousin in a landmark deal, ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer said on Monday,” Reuters reports. “Although ESPN has not held talks with Apple Computer Inc. yet, the top rated cable sports network plans to offer its diet of original shows and game clips to “any pipe, any device,” Bodenheimer said at the UBS global media conference.

“‘We’re not just in the TV business anymore … We’re going to the table as a sports media company,’ Bodenheimer said,” Reuters reports. “ESPN could join Walt Disney Co.’s ABC television networks, which announced a deal a few weeks ago to offer recently broadcasted episodes of hit shows ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ for $1.99 per episode on Apple’s service.”

Full article here.

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  1. I would have thought ESPN shows would only be useful live..unless you’re an American abroad and want to watch a game you’ve missed.

    Still, it’s good to see Apple attracting more broadcasters, and not just have Disney.

    Um, yeah.

  2. I routinely record the football games and races I want to watch specifically so I can FF throught the commercials. In fact, when I’m in a hurry I watch “speed football” where I FF between plays. A football game with no replays and no commercials takes about an hour to watch. I’d gladly drop my cable subscription if I could get the games from iTMS.

  3. The thing is ESPN and their content is very different from other channels. A week old sportscenter has very little value, where as a week old episode of Lost is just as valuable.

    If they do sign-up on iTunes, what I’d like to see is to pay a one time fee and be able to download current sportcenters in the morning, as their playing on TV, ala podcasts. It wouldn’t be difficult for espn. As soon as they’re done editing, send it down a huge bandwidth line to apple, and let apple throw it on iTunes.

    I’d like to wake up, take my pb off sleep, automatically download the newest sportscenter, throw it on my 5g ipod, and watch it throughout the day. But that’s just me.

  4. I disagree about the worth of old games. I think its just that we have got used to old games not being repeated so we don’t value them. I imagine that old players and their family and friends plus coaches, etc would love to view old games for reminiscing and training purposes.

    Sure, its not profitable to show them on prime time, but many old games are like ‘collectors items’ to the historian in us all.

  5. holy mackerel-

    I’m not sure if you are responding to me, but I totally agree that old games are worth a lot. If there was an ESPN Classic iTunes page, I’d download lots of amazing games.

    But Sportscenter is ESPN’s main show, and anything that recaps a day’s worth of something usually isn’t worth saving. Would you save an hour segment of CNN’s broadcast on December 2, 1999? I’m just using that date as an example, but you catch my drift.

  6. Yeah, thats what I cannot wait for. I want to be able to buy and constantly watch ESPN programming. There’s nothing better than watching show after show of old out of shape white guys yelling and screaming at each other over what team is best and who is or isn’t a great player.

    Yeah, thats quality and meaningful TV.

  7. ESPN could offer more clips from the previous day. They only have a set amount of time during the shows to show clips. Offering a “SportsCenter Extended” or something similar could have longer/more clips from various games. Plus ESPN could have downloads of just the major plays from a game and skip over “lesser” plays so you could get a synopsis of a game and not just 2 or 3 plays. This would be in addition to whole games sans commercials.

    There are many things they could do with all of the content they capture.

  8. apple will b interested in taking on any big media stations contents. the more content, the more momentum, the more solid they will be.

    the classic page is a great idea.
    unlimited potential, think of all the awesome wimbledon legendary finals matches. itll be cool to have them on your ipod.

    remember the future is any content, anytime. all this is a progression of that. it is huge. jobs is sort of playing down the whole deal, (by saying its just an ordinary ipod that plays video) but he knows how big and important this whole thing is. if apple can do this, like they did with music they will become, in time one of the biggest, and most powerful companies in the world.
    just think in the future if anyone wants to get content, how great would it be if apple was the main channel. they could dewarf what microsoft is today.
    they will be immensely powerful. thats a little scary though. but rather them than microsoft.

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