Disney recently held its Q1 2024 earnings call this week, and we got some pretty big announcements.
First, we learned how the Disney Parks were doing financially. We also learned about how Disney’s streaming services were doing. Disney also announced a new alliance with Fox and Warner Bros. for a brand-new sports streaming service. Well, one cable group is now calling for the Justice Department to review that alliance and service.
Here’s the deal. Disney and ESPN are teaming up with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to make a joint streaming platform for sports assets. The new sports subscription streaming service would be available to ESPN+, Hulu, and Max subscribers, with each company owning one-third of the product.
According to The Wrap, ACA Connects, a group representing around 500 small and medium cable providers across the U.S., believes Disney’s plan creates an “anticompetitive sports streaming juggernaut.” As a result, ACA Connects has called for an antitrust review by the Justice Department. Here’s a note: Warner Bros. Discovery is a member of ACA Connects.
In a statement, the ACA said:
“The ‘house of cards’ in the video marketplace continues to wobble. Allowing the biggest media players to join forces—while locking out traditional linear cable providers from offering the same package at the same price—only gives even more power and leverage to the Goliaths to extract more money from customers of ACA Connects Members. This clearly isn’t a functioning free market. With customers facing higher prices and fewer affordable choices, there needs to be a level playing field.”
The new sports streaming service is expected to launch this fall and will include a HUGE variety of professional and college sports. Subscribers can choose to subscribe directly or bundle the service with their existing Disney+, Hulu, or Max subscriptions.
ACA Connects asserts that the deal should receive an antitrust examination from the Justice Department because it believes the new service will pull customers away from cable services while increasing costs. Disney has not commented on the situation at this time.
We’ll keep an eye on the situation and keep you updated, so stay tuned to DFB for more.