WatchESPN delivers the 2012-13 College Football Bowl Season on Xbox

In the spirit of the season, ESPN has launched a new slate of WatchESPN spots called Hugs focusing on why this time of year is so special: family, friends and football.

For those that receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider, fans can access ESPN networks from wherever they are spending this time of year — online or on the go.

WatchESPN officially launched on Xbox in time for college football bowl season, extending its reach not only to computers, smartphones and tablets, but now through an interactive and unique sports viewing experience through Xbox. Here are just a few things fans can access:

· Games and events from across the NFL, MLB, NBA, college football and hoops, soccer, tennis, golf, motor sports and more – all LIVE
· Live programming from SportsCenter, PTI, NFL Live, College GameDay and other popular shows
· Watch up to two screens at once with split screen viewing
· Control the entire experience with a wave of your hand or the sound of your voice through Kinect

What you need: Xbox LIVE Gold membership and a video subscription from an affiliated provider. Currently, they include Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, XFINITY® TV from Comcast and Midcontinent Communications.

What you get: Live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Goal Line/Buzzer Beater plus video-on-demand clips and sports highlights from ESPN.com.

Front Row spoke to Matt Murphy (Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution) and Raphael Poplock (Vice President, Games & Partnerships) about the impact of ESPN on Xbox on sports media consumption:

What value is there in making WatchESPN available on Xbox?
MM: The fan can now enjoy the ESPN networks in a unique and more engaging way than they are accustomed to on TV. For instance, their ability to navigate from game-to-game, analysis and replays can be done all on one screen. And, of course, personalization and the ability to watch highlights on demand via the TV resonates with our fans. These features also result in new Ad Sales opportunities and higher levels of engagement.

How does this launch fit into the larger strategy for ESPN in the gaming space?
RP: Our goal is to best serve fans by delivering highly engaging and entertaining experiences across gaming platforms. Traditionally that’s done via the development of compelling games, such as sports simulation titles including Madden, FIFA and NCAA Football, through our partnership with EA SPORTS, causal multi-sport titles, including ESPN Sports Connection, our new Wii U title and our 200-plus casual games catalog on ESPN Arcade.

In this case, we’re able to harness the power and scale of Xbox to stream WatchESPN, ESPN.com clips and various interactive and personalized features. Game consoles are increasingly being used for video consumption, and the Xbox is at the forefront of that trend. We’ve recognized great success to date with our ESPN on Xbox app, and are excited to now offer fans with Xbox LIVE Gold who are authenticated ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Goal Line and Buzzer Beater.