Disney (DIS) is lower in afternoon trading after announcing the launch date and pricing of its long discussed ESPN+ streaming service.

LEAD UP: Disney and its ESPN network have been dealing with an evolving media landscape, including an exodus of subscribers due to cord cutting and changing television viewing habits, with Nielsen stating that ESPN lost almost 13M subscribers from 2011 to 2017. On August 8, 2017, Disney announced that it had acquired a majority stake in streaming technology company BAMTech, and would be launching two new streaming services using that technology — ESPN+, arriving early this year, and a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service, coming in late 2019.

ESPN+ ANNOUNCEMENT: Disney announced earlier Monday that its direct-to-consumer and international segments, in partnership with ESPN and featuring ESPN branded content, will launch ESPN+ on April 12 for the subscription price of $4.99 per month. The company said that ESPN+ will be an integrated part of a completely redesigned and reimagined ESPN App, and will feature authenticated live streaming of ESPN’s eight U.S. networks, in addition to live sporting events, original content and shows, and an on-demand video library. “This new product reflects our direct-to-consumer strategy focused on combining our beloved brands with our proprietary, industry-leading technology to give users unparalleled access to our world-class content,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international. However, in order to stream ESPN’s eight networks, consumers still need an existing cable, satellite or over-the-top subscription.

PRICE ACTION: Disney is down over 2% to $98.16 in afternoon trading.


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