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Comcast will offer Disney Plus, ESPN Plus on X1, Flex devices

(Logo: Walt Disney Company/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Comcast says it has reached an agreement with the Walt Disney Company that will allow it to offer its pay TV and Internet-only customers native access to two streaming services on its X1 platform hardware.

Thea announcement was made last Thursday in a press release sent to investors and reporters one day after Disney announced its long-term streaming strategy for Disney Plus and its two other streaming services.

Starting soon, Comcast customers who use the X1 pay TV platform will have access to the family-friendly Disney Plus and sports-centric ESPN Plus. The apps will be offered on X1-powered set-top boxes, including Flex-branded hardware that is given to Comcast’s Internet-only customers for free.

“With the addition of Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, our X1 and Flex customers will soon have the ability to easily find and watch the complete range of Disney sports and shows,” Rebecca Heap, a Comcast executive in charge of video and entertainment, said in a statement.

The companies did not say when Disney Plus or ESPN Plus would roll out to X1 users.

Comcast customers already had access to Hulu, an adult-oriented streaming video service that Disney largely controls. Disney intends to fully acquire Hulu in 2024 after buying out Comcast’s remaining financial stake in the service.

Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu all require a subscription that is separate to Comcast’s pay TV and Internet services, with subscription fees ranging from $5 a month to $12 a month depending on the app and level of service. All three services are available together as a bundle for $13 a month; a second bundle is launching soon that will offer Hulu’s commercial-free tier for $19 a month.

Comcast also offers native access to other third-party apps via its X1 box, including the free ViacomCBS streaming app Pluto TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and YouTube. It will soon offer AT&T’s HBO Max after offering subscribers access to the service on other platforms with their Comcast-sold HBO subscription.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).