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ESPN inks mobile TV distribution deal with Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS

ESPN is teaming up with Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV on a mobile television initiative to increase the number of touch points between cable subscribers and the sports media giant.

Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV subscribers who are sports fans can access ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and via the new WatchESPN application for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. 

?We?ve said all along that we were open to discussing authentication and new ways to distribute our products if it served the interests of viewers and for the right exchange of value,? said Kristie Chong, spokeswoman for ESPN, Bristol, CT. ?WatchESPN is an extension of that business model in a rapidly changing technology landscape, which is good for fans, good for our affiliates and good for rights-sellers who will be the beneficiaries of enhanced viewership.

?The target demographic is sports fans who, for the first time, will be able to get all the compelling live sports they watch on television from ESPN online and on mobile devices,? she said. ?We?ve already created and are running a 30-second ad spot across our networks and platforms to promote the app.?

ESPN first launched an online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN in October of last year. Authenticated versions of ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line launched in January of this year.

Consumers can access the channels through a centralized website at

Watch TV on your mobile device
ESPN and its partners made a concerted effort to get the WatchESPN application in the App Store in time for the early rounds of the Masters, the NBA Playoffs and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season.

Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV subscribers who get the linear networks as part of their video subscription can now watch the channels from their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. 

The free WatchESPN application is designed to take the online viewing experience of to the high-resolution, multi-touch displays of iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.

As soon as users download WatchESPN from the App Store, they are instructed to enter their cable subscriber credentials. They can then access ESPN content on their mobile devices.

WatchESPN on an iPhone

The version for iPhone and iPod touch is already live, while the version of the application optimized for the iPad is set to launch in May.

The network plans to launch the WatchESPN application on other smartphones and tablets in the near future.

An ad promoting the WatchESPN app

No sponsorship is tied to the app at launch. At the outset, the animated ESPN logo will appear in both the smartphone and tablet versions.

?Right now, WatchESPN adds value to our authentication affiliates and enhances viewership, and in the future we do expect to add commercials to the online and mobile versions of the authenticated networks,? Ms. Chong said.

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