This week Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a partnership that would see a new sports-focused TV streaming service launch this fall. This service 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.
Now, though, many wonder what this means for the future of both cable TV and live TV streaming services. Now Fubo has come out and raised concerns about the motives and implications of this new joint venture.
Here is the full statement from Fubo:
The recent announcement regarding the collaboration between Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery to introduce a sports-only streaming service has undoubtedly captured our attention. Fubo has consistently championed the principle of consumer choice and we’re not surprised more sports streaming options are becoming available. We have already seen that a consortium born of historical competitors is a difficult undertaking, and streaming joint ventures rarely work. As well, we know sports-only programming is highly challenged.
Consumers have demonstrated that they want an aggregated sports, news and entertainment package differentiated by a quality product experience. This is what Fubo delivers. We have also continuously pushed the boundaries of live TV streaming with market-first features like 4K, multi viewing and AI products like our just-launched Instant Headlines.
The underlying motives and implication of this joint venture also command our scrutiny. Every consumer in America should be concerned about the intent behind this joint venture and its impact on fair market competition. This joint venture spotlights a concerning trend where an alliance with significant market share, reportedly controlling 60-85% of all sports content, could dictate market terms in a manner that may not serve the broader interests of consumers.
We believe our robust programming and quality product experience cannot be duplicated by what is likely to emerge from this joint venture.
With Fubo and other streaming services focusing heavily on sports streaming, it is easy to understand how Fubo could be worried this new joint venture would undercut them. Also, it removes the middleman costs of a service like Fubo, potentially allowing it to be cheaper than Fubo. Lastly, typically, companies like Disney force you to carry many other channels to get ESPN. Now Disney is going to start selling it directly without the big bundle.
Look for cable TV companies and other streaming services to push back against this planned streaming service. The problem now is what leverage over Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros discovery they have if the companies start going directly to the consumers.