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‘Streaming Joint Ventures Rarely Work’: Fubo Responds To Disney, Fox and WBD Sports Service

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Fubo has issued a statement on the recently announced sports streaming joint venture between Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery. According to that statement, “streaming joint ventures rarely work.”

Earlier this week, Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery jointly announced that they were partnering up to bring all of their sports portfolios together under the one streaming service roof. While the name of the service and the price have yet to be announced, the upcoming streaming service has garnered a lot of interest and attention.

One of the aspects that remains unclear is how much a service like this might lead to cannibalization of live TV subscribers. Considering many homes subscribe to a live TV package just for access to live sports, if those same linear channels can be accessed through a standalone service and app, it remains to be seen how much value sports-focused subscribers will continue to see in a live TV package.

Another issue is actually whether traditional competitors can actually work together, and this is one of the concerns Fubo diretly raises in its statement.

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.”

Fubo also raised a concern over consumer choice in general. Specifically, that a combined direct-to-consumer service like this could result in a situation where there is no way to use market pressure to ensure prices are as low as they can be. In other words, the lack of competition could lead to a lack of a need to be priced competitively, resulting in a situation where a joint venture chooses its own market value and price.

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.”

Naturally, Fubo does have a vested interest in this situation as it could be one of the services that is adversely affected by such a joint venture. Fubo is a live TV streaming service that comes with a focus on sports channels and content, so any direct-to-consumer solution that lessens the need for a live TV package could impact Fubo.

However, that’s not to say that the concerns raised by Fubo are any less valid. Direct-to-consumer services are good for consumers, but in the absence of any competition, they could lead consumers paying more for the content they want.

John Finn

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