It’s been a long wait, but DirecTV subscribers finally got access to the crown jewel of TV Everywhere apps, WatchESPN, allowing subscribers to authenticate the app via their DirecTV credentials and watch live and on-demand sports on the go from tablets and mobile devices.
Announced yesterday, the news comes on the heels of a multi-year distribution deal DirecTV struck in December with ESPN’s parent company, Disney, and also includes a horde of other Disney properties subscribers can now watch away from home via WATCH ABC, WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior, and WATCH Disney XD apps.
The apps will be available from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and the Windows Phone store. Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast access are also available options, while the WatchESPN app is additionally offered via Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
The new deal has broken open a host of ways for the DirecTV faithful to checkout live streams of Disney-owned programs, including content from a bevy of channels throughout the ESPN family like ESPN2, ESPN3, and even the SEC Network channel.
However, as we saw with the release of NBC’s new live streaming app, live ABC programming from WATCH ABC will be available only in select markets. Those markets as of now include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Fresno, Philadelphia and the Raleigh-Durham area. That follows similarly restricted mobile access to live CBS programming, which is only available in select areas, too. However, CBS has sidestepped cable and satellite providers completely, offering its CBS All Access app for a subscription fee of $6/month instead.
As more and more live programming becomes available outside of the pay-TV paradigm, not the least of which is the new Sling TV service proffered from the war bunker of Dish Network, satellite and cable providers are looking for better mobile perks to keep their subscribers on the hook. WatchESPN, and the rest of the Disney family should be an attractive reason for DirecTV subscribers to stay put a while longer.