Democrats Tear Disney Apart in Congress, Issue Strict Deadline

in Disney, Entertainment

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Disney is facing serious pushback against its latest project.

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Credit: Inside the Magic

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Over the last decade, The Walt Disney Company has changed in countless ways. From theme parks to movies, Disney has continued to innovate and adapt. Disney is especially interested in further developing its streaming portfolio, announcing a brand new platform is on the way. This new sports-centric streaming service is a collaborative effort between Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery. These three titans of industry revealed the joint effort earlier this year and plan for it to change the streaming industry in a big way.

The new venture aims to provide fans with a new way to watch live sports events, something Disney already has a big hand in, thanks to ESPN. Sports is a very important entertainment product for the Walt Disney Company, with Disney purchasing ESPN back in 1996. Information about the new platform, such as pricing, has not yet been revealed. This new platform is expected to launch this fall and will offer quite an expansive catalog of sports networks, including fan-favorite channels like ESPN, ACC Network, ABC, Fox, truTV, and ESPN+. Pete Distad, former Apple TV+ executive, has been named CEO of this new venture.

However, Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. are having trouble getting the service off the ground, with members of Congress pushing back against the new platform.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Congress is getting involved in this upcoming project. In a letter addressed directly to Disney, representatives Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, and Joaquin Castor, a Democrat from Texas, asked several questions about the proposed venture. This new letter was sent Tuesday and asks for a response by April 30.

“The Joint Venture raises questions about how this new offering would affect access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market,” states the letter. “Without more complete information about the pricing, intent, and organization of this new venture, we are concerned that this consolidation will result in higher prices for consumers and less fair licensing terms for upstream sports leagues and downstream video distributors.”

The core issues addressed in the letter revolve around pricing, distribution, and rights. It also raises questions about potential competitors. The two Congressmen are concerned that a joint effort such as this one could eliminate most competition.

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“The Joint Venture Partners currently bid against each other for sports content. However, the new venture will pool sports content among the Joint Venture Partners. Will the Joint Venture Partners continue to bid competitively against one another for sports rights as they become available?”

This is not the only snag Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox have hit in regard to this joint effort, with the three companies being targeted in a new lawsuit shortly after announcing the new partnership. FuboTV, a streaming platform that focuses on live sporting coverage, filed the lawsuit, claiming this new venture could cause serious harm to competitors and the industry at large.

“Each of these companies has consistently engaged in anti-competitive practices that aim to monopolize the market,” states FuboTV in the lawsuit. “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.

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