FuboTV accuses Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. of antitrust practices over joint streaming service


FuboTV, a streaming platform dedicated to live sports, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, accusing the companies of staging “a years-long campaign” to hamper its business. The company’s lawsuit comes shortly Disney-owned ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced that they’re launching a sports streaming service in the fall of 2024, which will give subscribers access to sporting events from the networks they own. FuboTV’s complaint argued that the companies are stealing its playbook and that the launch of their joint venture will destroy competition and lead to price inflation for consumers.

Further, FuboTV alleged that the launch of the defendants’ streaming service is but “the latest coordinated step” in their “campaign to eliminate competition in the sports-first streaming market” and in their effort to block its business. The streaming service said the defendants charge it content licensing rates that are 30 to 50 percent higher than the rates they charge other distributors. They also allegedly force FuboTV to bundle “dozens of expensive non-sports channels” that “customers do not want” with their sports offerings as a condition of licensing their content. All these increase the costs FuboTV must pass onto its customers, the company explained.

FuboTV also claimed that the companies in question have prevented it from being able to offer streaming products subscribers would like, including content available on Hulu. Plus, the defendants allegedly impose a limitation on how many subscribers can buy their content package, ensuring that FuboTV can’t make a dent in the market.

“Each of these companies has consistently engaged in anticompetitive practices that aim to monopolize the market, stifle any form of competition, create higher pricing for subscribers and cheat consumers from deserved choice,” FuboTV CEO David Gandler said in a statement. “By joining together to exclusively reserve the rights to distribute a specialized live sports package, we believe these corporations are erecting insurmountable barriers that will effectively block any new competitors from entering the market. This strategy ensures that consumers desiring a dedicated sports channel lineup are left with no alternative but to subscribe to the Defendants’ joint venture.”

Engadget has reached out to all three defendants: ESPN has declined to comment, while Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have yet to get back to us. FuboTV is asking the court to prohibit the joint venture’s launch or to impose restrictions, such as economic parity of licensing terms, on the defendants.

Source: www.engadget.com

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