In addition, the two companies are discussing Amazon taking a minority stake in the network, Reuters reported Friday (Aug. 25), citing an article in the Information. The discussions are in their early stages, according to the report.
Amazon and Disney did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.
ESPN is considering charging a monthly subscription fee ranging between $20 and $35 for its streaming service, which would make it the most expensive streaming service in the United States, according to the report.
This development aligns with Disney CEO Robert Iger’s previous statement in July, where he expressed a desire to retain ESPN and seek strategic partnerships to bring the sports network directly to consumers, the report said.
Sports programming remains one of the best ways to draw audiences to live events, and Amazon has shown that the sports programming offered by its Prime Video helps draw viewers to its retail platform.
At the same time, streaming services have seen record highs in viewership and now make up 38.7% of total U.S. TV usage. Among the services that have hit record shares are YouTube (9.2%), Netflix (8.5%) and Amazon Prime Video (3.4%).
Online streaming has been on the upswing due to the sheer number of options available. Consumers can now access content from different providers and tailor their entertainment to their preferences.
Disney announced in early August that it is raising the price of its streaming services starting Oct. 12. Iger acknowledged that despite improvements in operating income, cost cuts and the reduction of streaming losses, the entertainment company faces a “challenging environment” in the near term.
“We’re obviously trying with our pricing strategy to migrate more subs to the advertising-supported tier,” Iger said.
Iger also said during Disney’s Aug. 9 earnings presentation that the company will crack down on password sharing and create a super app for content.
“We see a future where consumers can access even more of the company’s streaming content all in one place,” Iger said, “resulting in higher user engagement, lower churn and greater opportunities for advertisers.”