Disney will launch ESPN Plus, a new streaming subscription service that is set to make its debut this coming spring for $4.99 per month.
CEO Bob Iger made the announcement during an earnings call with investors, according to a report from CNN.
"It will basically enable people to see ESPN just about any way imaginable," he explains.
The upcoming ESPN Plus service will be an add-on to the existing ESPN application.
Subscribers are given access to thousands of live sporting events that aren't available in typical television channels. Some of the examples of sports that might be in ESPN Plus include baseball, soccer, golf, boxing, cricket, and rugby, among others.
The streaming service will also include ESPN's popular 30 for 30 documentary series, which focuses on sports personalities and events throughout history.
However, Iger reveals that their new service for sports will not get access to SportsCenter or ESPN live channels as only existing subscribers of standard ESPN will be able to subscribe to ESPN Plus.
ESPN Plus will be Disney's first attempt at a direct-to-consumer streaming service. The company will be finally able to make use of streaming technology BAMTech. It can be noted that Disney bought a majority stake in BANTech for $1.58 billion in 2017.
"If anything points to what the future of what ESPN looks like, it will be this," Iger says during the investor's earnings call while referring to ESPN Plus.
ESPN Plus is expected to be available to mobile subscribers via Apple's iOS, Apple TV, Google's Android, and Chromecast.
There is no specific launch date for ESPN Plus yet.
Disney Looks To The Future
Launching ESPN Plus is a significant step for Disney in their quest to capture a major chunk of the audience that's increasingly turning to digital streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video. Reports from the previous year indicate significant losses to ESPN's subscription numbers, which is a huge blow despite the continuing strength of the demand for the network.
Disney has already acquired most of 21st Century Fox, which includes a majority stake in Hulu. The company is also working on a separate streaming service for its entertainment properties including Marvel, Star Wars, and animated films.
However, Iger clarifies that this specific project isn't expected to be available until late 2019, in time for Toy Story 4 and another Frozen sequel. Once the streaming service is in place, Disney content will be removed from Netflix.