The Walt Disney Company is certainly no stranger to legal battles.
In fact, the company is currently being sued by passholders of both Disney World and Disneyland, and last November we learned of another suit brought forth by YouTube TV subscribers who allege that Disney’s business deals have inflated the cost of streaming subscriptions. Now, we have an update.
Last year, YouTube TV subscribers filed two antitrust lawsuits over its Live TV streaming. The plaintiffs claim “the company’s business deals with competitors have inflated the amount consumers pay for streaming live TV services.”
The suits continue with the plaintiffs’ claim that “because Disney requires streamers including YouTube TV to include ESPN in base packages, they are paying extra more for their subscriptions than they should.”
The lawsuits also allege that “This dramatic, marketwide price inflation has been led by Disney’s own price hikes for Hulu + Live TV, and has directly tracked Disney’s competitor-by-competitor negotiation of new SLPTV carriage agreements over this time period.”
We hadn’t heard any updates since the suits were originally filed, but on January 31st, Disney filed a motion to dismiss them according to Reuters. Disney’s attorneys have argued that the plaintiffs who filed the suits “misconstrue basic antitrust and economic concepts.”
Disney says that the suits fail to show “a relevant antitrust market in which competition was harmed” and that “the antitrust laws exist to protect competition, not individuals.”
In 2021, Disney and YouTube TV duked it out over ESPN, with YouTube eventually agreeing to provide a less expensive subscription that didn’t include ESPN or other Disney-owned channels.
But, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said that “many consumers would prefer a base package that does not include ESPN and costs meaningfully less.” Disney’s motion to dismiss the antitrust lawsuits will be reviewed by US District Judge Edward Davila in July.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for updates on this situation, so stay tuned to AllEars for more.
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