In November 2022, a group of nine plaintiffs sued Disney, alleging that they artificially raised the prices of services such as YouTube TV and DIRECTV STREAM.

The allegation is that Disney’s ownership of ESPN has been utilized to increase the cost of streaming services. The complaint is that Disney requires you to pay for both ESPN and the Disney Channel.

Disney’s lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss the antitrust complaint, claiming that the plaintiffs “misconstrue basic antitrust and economic concepts.” Disney claims that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a meaningful antitrust market in which competition was fierce.

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Now that the judge has ruled that this lawsuit can proceed, Disney cannot stop a proposed class action lawsuit against the company’s use of ESPN to obtain higher TV prices.

The good news for Disney is that the defense is banned from seeking damages. According to The Hollywood Reporter, they can only seek the court to prevent further antitrust crimes if they are found guilty.

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For years, numerous companies have combined channels. Want TBS? For example, you’ll need all of the Turner Networks. Disney isn’t alone in this. Getting ESPN requires networks to carry a number of Disney-owned channels.

Consumers have always desired the ability to subscribe to only the channels they want. So far, however, content owners have retained the ability to continue claiming that if you want one channel, you must pay for a package of networks. The new Venue Sports streaming service, which is also partially owned by Disney, is a step closer than what we have now, but it is still a long way from the à la carte option that many cord cutters had hoped for.