Walt Disney network executive Sean Bratches revealed in an interview on Tuesday that his company is considering a move that would bring its WatchESPN service application to Apple TV, a move that would require viewers to first authenticate their cable TV access before they could view the applications programming.
Bratches also revealed that Walt Disney is:
“A platform-agnostic content company. To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something we will participate in.”
This is not the first time ESPN has added online content viewing capabilities for customers, the company has been attempting to extend its reach for months, including an Xbox 360 application that is already avaialable for Verizon FiOS and other select cable providers.
In the meantime most major league sports networks already offer a la carte options that can be purchased through Apple TV, a fact that could allow ESPN to offer a similar package outside of cable TV bundling. A WatchESPN a la carte option would like come with certain blackout restrictions based on IP region identification, thus continuing the practice of stopping certain sports broadcasts when local networks own those airing rights.
While Apple typically demands a 30 percent cut of app fees its still unclear what type of deal Apple and Disney Corp might be working towards. As a hyper-targeted demographic network ESPN demands higher royalties on cable TV and satellite when compared to other broadcast and cable networks.