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PlayStation Vue Nets Disney-ESPN Deal

Filling a big gap in its programming lineup, PlayStation Vue, Sony’s OTT-TV service, has inked a carriage deal that will provide it with access to the complete Disney and ESPN network lineup, including ESPN, ABC-owned local stations, Disney Channel and ABC Family.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but they said the carriage agreement  includes “unique features,” including the ability for PS Vue subs to play multiple streams from one account, and the ability to stream content across multiple devices both in and out of the subscriber’s home.

Additionally, local ABC affiliate stations will have the opportunity to opt-in to the PS Vue service with their live linear programming, they said.

Sony said more details, including launch timing, will be announced at a later date, but here are the Disney and ESPN Media Networks that will be on offer via PS Vue: ABC-owned stations group, ABC Family (becoming Freeform in January); Disney Channel; Disney Junior; Disney XD; ESPN; ESPN2; ESPN College Extra; ESPNU; ESPNEWS; ESPN Deportes; ESPN Classic; ESPN Goal Line; ESPN Buzzer Beater; ESPN Bases Loaded; Fusion; Longhorn Network; and SEC-ESPN Network.

Tied in, PlayStation Vue will also offer a library of on-demand content from Disney and ESPN, including the ability to catch-up on shows within three days of airing without the need to record or “tag” the show (PS Vue does support a cloud DVR that allows users to save recorded shows for up to 28 days).

Sony currently makes PS Vue available on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles, and recently launched a PS Vue app for the iPad. Gaming consoles remained the top CE device used to access online video content as of the first quarter of 2015, per a new study from Parks Associates.

While Sony has not announced how it will package its new Disney and ESPN programming, it currently markets three multichannel plans: Access ($49.99 per month), Core ($59.99 per month), and Elite ($69.99 per month). In its multichannel markets, PS Vue has been lacking access to ABC's broadcast network while providing access to the broadcast feeds of CBS, Fox, and NBC.

“This deal demonstrates our continued commitment to offer the best content on TV to PlayStation Vue users,” said Dwayne Benefield, vice president and head of PlayStation Vue, in a statement. “The addition of Disney and ESPN’s primetime programming and live marquee sports to our portfolio ensures subscribers will have access to the most popular network programming on television today. We’re also proud to be the first Internet-based pay TV service to offer Disney’s networks with the streaming features that set PlayStation Vue apart from the industry, making TV viewing a more enjoyable experience for the whole household.”

“PlayStation Vue provides a unique way to engage with our content and an opportunity to reach a segment of viewers who want a different kind of television experience,” added Justin Connolly, EVP of affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “The addition of our content to the PlayStation Vue platform will make the offering more compelling as consumers navigate their video options.”

PS Vue also offers select a la carte programming on a national basis, including Showtime’s OTT service, Fox Soccer Plus, and a new premium TV channel from Machinima. Epix Hits, a new channel that is paired with a VOD library, is also available on PS Vue as a premium pack with Showtime for $13.99 per month (or $11.49 for PlayStation Plus members), and in the PS Vue Elite tier, or as an add-on to the service's Access and Core packages.