Disney Sued Over Hulu & ESPN Deals That “Inflate Prices” Of Live Streaming TV –

A group of YouTube TV subscribers has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Disney, claiming the company’s business deals with competitors inflated the amount consumers pay to stream live TV services. is given

Plaintiffs in four states claim that, because Disney requires streamers, including YouTube TV, to include ESPN in base packages, they are overpaying for their subscriptions.


An 82-page class-action complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco (read it here) alleges that Disney’s control of both ESPN and Hulu allows the group to “inflate the prices of its products.” Allowed to increase prices according to the market. And “also set a price floor.”

According to the suit: “Together, these carriage agreement mandates — which now cover all of Disney’s leading competitors in the SLPTV market — allow Disney to use ESPN and Hulu as a price floor in the SLPTV market.” can set and raise prices across the market for its own products. And that’s exactly what Disney has done over the past three years, since it gained operational control of Hulu.

“Since Disney acquired operational control of Hulu in May 2019,” the complaint added, “prices in the SLPTV market, including YouTube TV, have doubled. This dramatic, market-wide price inflation led to Disney’s pricing for Hulu + Live TV is self-paced, and it directly tracks Disney’s negotiation of new SLPTV carriage agreements with competitors during this period.”

With over 5 million subscribers including trials, YouTube TV is the largest provider of live pay television streaming services.


Disney and YouTube TV reached a new deal late last year after a carriage dispute caused ESPN to go dark on the streamer for two days. The deal comes two months after Roku and YouTube parent Google ended a distribution standoff and a YouTube TV-NBC Universal deal avoided blacking out the Comcast-owned company’s channels.

Heather Biddle of California, Jeffrey Kaplan of Arizona, Zachary Roberts of Indiana and Joel Wilson of Kentucky are seeking unspecified damages against Disney and are demanding a jury trial.

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