Disney’s Direct-To-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment and ESPN have released a series of enhancements to the ESPN+ streaming service within the ESPN app, designed to improve the consumer experience by serving customized content, more user-friendly navigation, offline viewing and more platforms on which fans can access programming.
“One of the most important focuses for ESPN+ has been innovating the experience for fans and making it easier for them to discover, subscribe and watch the great content,” says Michael Paull, president, Disney Streaming Services. “With more than a million subscribers and growing, our recent updates bring fans a more personalized experience with advanced content recommendations and make the service more accessible with offline viewing in the mobile app and availability on new devices, including Samsung and Oculus.”
Whether ensuring live events are streamed reliably at HD quality, providing an intuitive navigation or simply giving fans more ways to access ESPN+, DTCI and ESPN focus on delivering an always-improving experience to sports fans.
“Our focus is always on creating user experiences that are smart, personal, intuitive and scalable,” says Jarrod Schwarz, vice president, Product and Design, DTCI. “The ESPN app is the digital home of sports, and ESPN+ is already the leader in direct-to-consumer sports streaming. But for us, there is a responsibility never to stop improving them. We aim to drive the industry forward, evolve with user expectations and ensure our products are where sports fans expect them to be.”
The enhancements include:
Personalized Content Recommendation
ESPN+ offers sports fans deeper access to the content they love with thousands of live events and on-demand programs, and the experience has been upgraded with personalized recommendations unique to each subscriber.
Initially, ESPN+ content recommendations highlight video-on-demand programming—helping fans discover more of the catalog of original, studio and library content available. Recommendations will continuously be refined and improved and will soon expand to live and upcoming events, helping ensure fans never miss the events and shows that they want to see.
New ESPN+ Dedicated Nav Icon, Offline Viewing, UFC FightCenter and More on ESPN Mobile App
The ESPN app on iOS and Android has been updated with new features and navigation for fans, including:
- Dedicated ESPN+ Navigation Icon: Under a new E+ icon within the app’s main navigation, fans get easy, direct access to ESPN+ programming in a dedicated home, which lets them access all the exclusive video and premium news and analysis content—never more than one touch away.
- Offline Viewing: Subscribers to ESPN+ can now watch a number of their favorite ESPN+ original shows, series and documentaries wherever they are, connected or not. With offline viewing, ESPN+ subscribers can take programming such as Detail with Kobe Bryant, Quest for The Stanley Cup, NBA: Year One and 30 for 30 documentaries with them.
- New UFC FightCenter: An all-new UFC FightCenter, featuring fight cards for every fight from UFC events, fighter profile cards for each fighter, live-updating fight statistics (strikes – by significance and region, time in control, takedowns and more), including dynamic animations of damage absorbed, is now available on mobile app and ESPN.com. For subscribers, FightCenter also includes direct access to live-streaming coverage.
- Browse Tab: A new “Browse” tab in the main navigation gives fans a one-stop menu for their favorite teams and sports, ESPN Audio (podcasts and radio streaming) and sports-specific sections.
- Podcast Personalization: Fans can now access favorite ESPN podcasts directly from their home screen feed, with an integrated “My Podcasts” carousel. Fans can favorite any of the dozens of popular ESPN pods that reach millions of listeners every month.
Expansion to New Smart TV and VR Devices
Fans can now access ESPN+ through new ESPN apps on Samsung and Oculus devices.
- Samsung Smart TVs: Sports fans who unwrapped new Samsung Smart TVs this holiday season (or own ’17 or ’18 models) can now subscribe to ESPN+ directly through an updated ESPN app. Once subscribed, they can start watching the entire ESPN+ lineup of live sports events, original shows, the entire 30 for 30 documentary series and more. Plus, any sports fans with access to ESPN’s “TV Everywhere” content via a pay television subscription can view all that ESPN content in the ESPN app on Samsung Smart TVs, as well. To learn more, visit ESPNPlus.com.
- Watch in VR on Oculus Go: The ESPN app recently launched on Oculus Go, the first all-in-one VR headset from Oculus. ESPN on Oculus Go gives fans new ways to experience all the live and on-demand sports video they get from ESPN and ESPN+. Available in the Oculus Store, the ESPN app is built on the same core as the Android TV app and lets fans stream ESPN+ programming, and ESPN’s “TV Everywhere” content, in a distraction-free Oculus Go virtual viewing lounge—complete with 180-inch virtual screen.