Beginning today, sports fans will have yet another convenient way to access ESPN news from their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices. In addition to platforms that include ESPN.com and the ESPN app, fans can now get their sports news and information through the new built-in Apple News app as part of today’s free iOS 9 update.
As announced by Apple last week, News delivers a reading experience that combines the rich, immersive design of a print magazine with the interactivity of digital media. ESPN is among the more than 50 publishers that will deliver a collection of its best articles to readers worldwide.
ESPN Digital & Print Media EVP, John Kosner spoke to Front Row about the significance of the launch and how it fits into ESPN’s overall digital and print media strategy:
ESPN is consistently a launch content provider – most recently with the Apple Watch and now Apple News, among others. Is being first-to-market a priority for ESPN in the digital space?
Yes, being first – and best – to market is a big priority for us. We’ve been leaders since we debuted on April 1, 1995. Part of our success has been to embrace new platforms and opportunities. In that way, Apple News is just the latest.
– ESPN Digital & Print Media EVP, John Kosner
What are you most excited about with the launch of Apple News?
I’m most excited about the reach of Apple News, both in terms of different audiences that are going to come to it and the fact that it will be accessible to all English-language countries to start, expanding to other global territories in future years. On the first point, there is a significant audience of people interested in ESPN content who aren’t necessarily coming to ESPN.com or downloading the ESPN app. This gives us a great opportunity to reach them.
For example, coverage of Caitlyn Jenner at the 2015 ESPYs drew a huge audience, but we would reach casual sports fans and people interested in sports within the context of news or social issues more easily through Apple News. And of course, Apple News is a critical step forward to be in on every fan’s home screen – not only in the U.S. but worldwide as well.
Are you worried about attracting fans away from your core digital products, including ESPN.com and the ESPN app?
Not at all. We are selling against all of our content, and thus we view the opportunity as incremental, not taking away from anything. We’ve always been interested in greater distribution, and not in terms of any specific platform, because we want to be where fans are.