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Disney Says Rivals Haven’t Shown Market Harm In ESPN Suit

 |  February 2, 2023

Lawyers for Walt Disney on Tuesday asked a US judge to dismiss a pair of consumer antitrust cases alleging the media and entertainment company’s business contracts have artificially driven up the costs for rival video streaming services YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream.

In a court filing, Disney’s attorneys argued that the nine plaintiffs who filed the purported class action lawsuits in San Jose, California, in December “misconstrue basic antitrust and economic concepts.”

Related: New Suit Claims Disney Uses Hulu, ESPN To Raise Streaming Costs

The consumers alleged Disney’s ownership of the sports TV programmer ESPN — part of the base package for a YouTube TV subscription — has allowed the company to “set a price floor” in the market for TV streaming. The plaintiffs claimed they are paying more for their subscriptions than they would if ESPN were not part of the minimum service.

But Disney’s attorneys at Farella Braun + Martel and Cravath, Swaine & Moore contend the plaintiffs failed to show “a relevant antitrust market in which competition was harmed.” They also contend “the antitrust laws exist to protect competition, not individuals.”