Back in November 2022, a group of nine plaintiffs sued Disney over claims that they have artificially driven up the costs of services like YouTube TV and DIRECTV STREAM.
The argument is that Disney’s ownership of ESPN has been used to drive up the price of streaming services. The complaint here is that Disney says if you want the Disney Channel, for example, you have to also pay for ESPN.
Now Disney lawyers are asking a judge to dismiss the antitrust case. Saying the plaintiffs “misconstrue basic antitrust and economic concepts.” Disney argues that the plaintiffs have failed to show a relevant antitrust market in which competition was hard.
For years many companies have bundled channels together. Want TBS? You need to get all the Turner Networks, for example. Disney is not alone in this getting ESPN means networks also need to carry a bundle of Disney-owned channels.
It has long been a dream that consumers would be able to subscribe to just the channels they want. So far, though, content owners have won the right to continue saying if you want one channel, you need to pay for a bundle of networks.