Judge Greenlights Class Action Anti-Trust Lawsuit Alleging Disney Illegally Raising Streaming Prices

Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Bob Iger holds a press conference at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai on June 15, 2016. - The Magic Kingdom comes to the Middle Kingdom this week when Disney opens its first theme park in mainland China, betting the growing middle class will spend …

A federal judge in California ruled on Tuesday that an antitrust lawsuit against Disney regarding its streaming services can move forward.

Last fall, a handful of YouTube TV subscribers claimed that Disney’s “business deals with competitors have inflated the amount consumers pay for streaming live TV services,” according to Deadline.

“The suit said that because Disney requires streamers, including YouTube TV and Sling TV, to include ESPN in base packages, they are paying more for their subscriptions than they should,” reported the outlet.

“They also alleged antitrust violation on the grounds that Disney’s control of content and distribution, including operating control of Hulu and its Hulu + Live TV, presented a barrier to entry into the market,” it added.

In his ruling, Judge Edward Davila of the U.S. District Court in San Jose greenlit the suit while denying the pricing claims and damages the plaintiffs claimed were associated with it.

“The Court agrees with Disney that, to the extent Plaintiffs rely on allegations of reduced consumer choice and increased subscription prices, these allegations are insufficient to allege an injury to competition,” he said. “Plaintiffs also allege that, in addition to increased prices, the infrastructure and agreements have produced barriers to entry. Detailed allegations of barriers to entry are sufficient to allege anticompetitive harm.”

The judge further noted that Disney’s conduct has prevented “entry by potential rival because a new entrant would need to contract with Disney in order to obtain several notable channels.”

“For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART with leave to amend,” the court said.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), “not only could Disney’s stewardship of the companies have reduced consumer choice and increased subscription prices, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila concluded that Disney may have enough control over the live-streaming pay TV market to impair competition.”

“He pointed to its ability to ‘prevent or retard entry’ of competitors by ‘mandating onerous terms or by outright refusing to license live television content,'” it added.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


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