Fubo Accuses FOX, Disney, & Warner Bros. Discovery of Overcharging It By 30 to 50%





Last month Walt Disney’s ESPN, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a new sports streaming joint venture that would let subscribers stream 14 live channels including ESPN, FS1, local ABC, FOX, and others. Now Fubo is unhappy about this deal and is fighting back accusing FOX, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery of overcharging.

“The answer is simple. We’re being overcharged 30 to 50 per cent. We’re dealing with complexities around packaging. We’re forced to take on content that we don’t want in order to access ‘must have’ programming,” said Fobu’s CEO David Gandler in an interview with SportsPro.

This all comes as Fubo, the live streaming service, is suing to block the joint venture alleging in a lawsuit that three media giants stole from the Fubo playbook and that this new venture is the latest attempt in a years-long campaign to block its business. The lawsuit was first spotted by Eriq Gardner.

“This sports cartel blocked our playbook for many years and now they are effectively stealing it for themselves,” CEO David Gandler said in a statement.

Earlier this month Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced the partnership, which would offer 14 live channels of sports, including ESPN, BTN, FOX Sports, and sports from TNT—to name a few. This would address one of the main complaints of streaming services—the need to switch between apps to see all the games.

But the partnership has elicited backlash from a myriad of parties, from small cable companies to the sports leagues, which are busy reviewing their own contracts.

Fubo also took aim at the media companies’ requirement that it carry multiple non-sports channels as a condition of getting access to the likes of ESPN and FS1. The forced “bundling” now puts it at a disadvantage over the new JV, which will only carry sports-centric channels. It added that Fubo gets charged licensing rates that are 30 to 50 percent higher than other distributors.

“These actions individually and collectively increase the costs Fubo must pass onto customers,” the company said. “Fubo believes it has incurred billions of dollars in damages as a result of the Defendants’ actions.”

ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. FOX didn’t immediately respond for comment.

With Fubo focused heavily on sports streaming, it is easy to understand why it could be worried about this new joint venture. The service threatens to remove the middleman costs of a service like Fubo, potentially allowing the JV to offer a lower price.

“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,” Gandler said. “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.”

Look for cable TV companies and other streaming services to push back against this planned streaming service.

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