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DOJ Takes Aim at Disney-Fox-Warner Streaming Deal

 |  February 15, 2024

The proposed joint venture between Walt Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch a new streaming service is facing regulatory scrutiny from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) over antitrust concerns.

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ plans to examine the terms of the streaming service partnership once it is finalized. While the companies involved have not yet been officially notified of the impending review, insiders caution that it may not necessarily result in any immediate action. The regulators are expected to closely evaluate the potential impact of the deal on consumers, competing media firms, and sports leagues.

The joint venture, announced earlier this month, aims to introduce a sports streaming service targeting younger audiences, set to debut in the autumn. The collaboration leverages the extensive portfolio of professional and collegiate sports rights held by the media conglomerates, encompassing major leagues such as the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), the FIFA World Cup, and various college competitions, reported Bloomberg.

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

The involvement of Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery in the streaming landscape signals a significant consolidation of content and distribution power within the industry. With each company bringing its own vast catalog of media properties and sports rights to the table, the joint venture could potentially reshape the competitive landscape of the streaming market.

The DOJ’s decision to subject the proposed streaming deal to antitrust review reflects growing concerns about the concentration of market power and potential anti-competitive behavior in the media and entertainment sector. As streaming services continue to proliferate and compete for subscribers, regulators are increasingly vigilant in monitoring industry practices to ensure fair competition and protect consumer interests.

While the outcome of the DOJ’s scrutiny remains uncertain, the review underscores the complexities and challenges involved in navigating the rapidly evolving landscape of digital media and streaming platforms. As the media giants move forward with their plans for the joint venture, they will likely face heightened scrutiny and regulatory oversight, highlighting the importance of compliance with antitrust laws and regulations in an increasingly interconnected and competitive media ecosystem.

Source: Bloomberg