|The ESPN sports network has allegedly been in deep discussion with potential Internet television purveyors to offer its live programming online. A deal with any IPTV carrier would have to pay at least as much as a traditional cable outlet would, according to President John Skipper, with a mandated purchase of "the whole suite of products." Expected to be bundled are ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile app content.
ESPN is the most valuable channel packaged for cable, responsible for attracting the most viewers. Any IPTV provider would have to guarantee minimum subscriber volumes and agree to pay the contracted rate even if subscriptions are lower than expected. Skipper refused to name the parties that the network has been in discussions with.
The Disney-owned channel accounted for 46 percent of Disney's broadcast revenue, and 69 percent of its operating profit in the last quarter, according to Bloomberg. Apple, Google, Intel, and Sony are all reportedly working on IPTV offerings, with an emphasis on live programming.