Just before the new year, we told you about the new agreement between Disney and DirecTV. It not only keeps ESPN and its networks on the satellite provider, but it also brings a few new networks to DirecTV. Two new networks join the DirecTV lineup today and one is from ESPN. The Longhorn Network which had been struggling to gain wide distribution since it launched three years ago will be available on Channel 677.
Subscribers to the Choice package or the Sports Pack will be able to watch the network that is devoted to University of Texas sports.
When Longhorn Network began, it struggled to find providers interested in carrying the channel, but momentum picked up in the last few years as Disney bundled it with other ESPN networks as part of various long-term carriage agreements with several major providers including Dish, Time Warner Cable and now DirecTV. This helps to increase the availability in Texas and across the country. The only major cable provider that doesn’t have LHN is Comcast.
By the way, the other Disney network joining DirecTV is Fusion, the ABC News/Univision joint venture devoted to news aimed at the Hispanic community. That will be located on Channel 342.
Also included in the ESPN press release on the DirecTV launch of the Longhorn Network was this tidbit about WatchESPN which subscribers have been jonesing for:
“In addition, DIRECTV customers who receive LHN as part of their satellite service will soon be able to enjoy the network’s exclusive live events and content via WatchESPN on their computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices – at home or on the go. DIRECTV is expected to offer WatchESPN beginning in late February or early March and will be available on DIRECTV Everywhere shortly thereafter.”
So now we have a target date for WatchESPN on DirecTV. If we had to guess, this will probably be part of a larger rollout of the Disney Watch apps to subscribers such as Watch ABC, Watch DisneyChannel, Watch DisneyXD and Watch Disney Junior.
In all, DirecTV subscribers who had been wondering if they would be joining other providers with various features and networks are finding that they are now catching up.