Disney-owned ESPN has been in preliminary talks to provide programming via a Web-based TV service along the lines of proposed services from Google, Sony and Intel, Bloomberg reports.
"An Internet TV provider would have to pay as much or more than cable and satellite services, President John Skipper said [Thursday] at ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Connecticut," the story reports. "He declined to specify the companies ESPN has spoken with."
The piece notes that ESPN is the most valuable channel on cable and commands the highest subscriber fees of any basic cable network, based on data from SNL Kagan.
"A Web-based service would have to buy ‘the whole suite of products,’ Skipper said. ‘We’re not going to offer one-offs.’ The network includes the flagship channel, plus others such as ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile applications offered to existing pay-TV subscribers," the report notes.
"Access to ESPN would give new online TV providers instant credibility and a foothold to compete with established players like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV," Bloomberg adds.
The report notes: "Talks with alternative TV providers are exploratory and any new platform would have to offer a package of channels comparable to what other operators provide, according to Chris LaPlaca, a spokesman for ESPN."