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Fubo drops Discovery networks and blasts WBD for abusing its power

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Fubo drops Discovery networks and blasts WBD for abusing its power

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The face-off between streaming TV service Fubo and Warner Bros. Discovery is continuing to escalate. Fubo announced via a late afternoon press release that it has dropped Discovery networks effective immediately — “including Discovery, HGTV, Food Network and TLC, among others” — and has been unable to reach a separate deal to bring Turner sports networks TNT, TBS, and truTV to its customers.

The company claims that it had little choice but to drop the batch of Discovery channels after talks with WBD went nowhere, and it’s accusing WBD of bad-faith negotiations and an “abuse of massive market power that ultimately limits consumer choice.”

Fubu says that it offered WBD “market rates” to secure all of this content but that it never received a counteroffer. The entertainment giant is claimed to have insisted on “above-market rates.” Fubo goes on to sound the alarm, basically saying that this is exactly the type of behavior it predicted back when Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, and Fox announced plans to develop their own sports-centric streaming service.

Fubo wasted little time suing the companies, hoping either to ensure fair terms for its own streaming deals long into the future or, failing that, to block the service’s launch entirely. It has garnered support from Dish and DirecTV, both of which have voiced concerns over being put at a disadvantage in having to compete against the sports mega-service.

Here’s a section of today’s news release from Fubo:

Warner Bros. Discovery has also denied our customers the choice of subscribing to their Turner sports content separately from Discovery content through a more affordable skinny sports bundle. Yet Warner Bros. Discovery has announced that it plans to make this must-have content available in its forthcoming sports streaming joint venture with The Walt Disney Company and Fox Corp. 

This all sounds like the familiar back-and-forth that we tend to hear whenever streaming services and content owners squabble over a deal renewal. They’re asking for too much is a constant refrain, and Fubo is framing the removal of Discovery networks as its best effort to “avoid passing on these extra costs to consumers.” As is, the service’s plans start at $79.99 / month, so a price hike would put Fubo out of reach for even more people.

In the event that the Discovery networks stay gone for the foreseeable future, shouldn’t Fubo get… cheaper? You’d like to think so! But it doesn’t usually work that way.

These are the networks that have vanished as of today:

The Verge has reached out to Warner Bros. Discovery for comment. I’ll go ahead and assume that the company will paint Fubo as the unreasonable party in this dispute.

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