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ESPN Mobile App Stitches inWatchESPN

Expanding the reach of its TV Everywhere platform, ESPN said it mobile app for iOS 9 and Android smartphones and tablets now provides integrated support for WatchESPN's live streams. 

The feature, sort of an app-within-an-app, was put into play ahead of the conclusion of the college football regular season, bowl games and the College Football Playoff, ESPN said. After logging in with their pay TV credentials, users can access live streams through a new, rebranded “WatchESPN” tab or by tapping “Watch Live” on specific game page. Playback on the iPad will offer picture-in-picture, enabling users to navigate other areas of the app while they are watching a live stream.

ESPN also offers WatchESPN, an authenticated offering that requires a pay TV subscription, as a separate app on iOS and Android mobile devices, Web browsers, Roku players and Roku TVs, Apple TV, Amazon  Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Amazon Fire tablets.

The sports net also said the update comes as the standalone WatchESPN app has seen usage climb.

ESPN said the app set records in September and October for its two most viewed non-World Cup months ever, attracting 11 million total unique viewers that watched 2.2 billion minutes in September, up 50% and 92%, respectively, versus the same month in 2014, and 9 million total unique viewers that watched 1.9 billion minutes in October, up 39% and 71%, respectively.

 “Offering the convenience of live streaming within one app reinforces the value of the multichannel subscription,” said Sean Breen, SVP of affiliate sales for Disney & ESPN Media Networks, in a statement. “Even with WatchESPN’s recent record-breaking viewership, we continue to be aggressive in driving awareness to a large scale audience and to incentivize video subscribers to authenticate.”