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New sports streaming platform: What to know


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, #23, during the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Jan. 7, 2024.

Jevone Moore | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

The U.S. media world was rushing — or panicking? — Wednesday to try to figure out the ramifications of Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox‘s new joint venture, an unprecedented move to work together in the years since media companies broke out their own competing streaming platforms.

The service will launch this fall and cater to sports fans who don’t subscribe to the traditional cable bundle. Consumers will have access to all of the networks owned by those companies that carry sports, along with Disney’s ESPN+.

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Some of the motivations for the companies are clear, as they look to sports to help drive streaming profits. Other reasons for launching the product are murkier and more company specific.

Many media executives are scrambling for answers about a deal that could have major ripple effects in the industry.

What’s the audience?

At first glance, the venture is a big concern for the three largest pay TV operators, Charter, Comcast and DirecTV.

But just how much they stand to lose is murky. One person associated with the launch of the new venture told CNBC the platform will be “a monster” and massively disrupt cable TV.

That’s possible. Some percentage of people who eventually sign up for the sports bundle will cancel traditional cable in favor of the new, cheaper alternative. The price for the new product hasn’t been determined, but sources told CNBC it will be higher than $30. One person said $45 to $50 per month seemed logical after discounted introductory offers expire.

A product around $40 a month is much cheaper than the $72.99 per month for YouTube TV, which is now a growing cable alternative for sports fans.

But it’s also possible the platform simply doesn’t have a huge audience. There’s a reason tens of millions of Americans have canceled cable. Many simply don’t want access to sports and the associated cost.

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Wednesday that the product is geared toward people who have never signed up for cable. But it’s a leap of faith to assume a lot of these people want to spend $40 or so each month for live sports.

Spokespeople for Charter, Comcast and DirecTV all declined to comment on the new offering.

Charter and Comcast haven’t really cared about video defections for years now. Broadband is a far more profitable product. Cable TV has been relegated to an add-on that helps keep people subscribing to high-speed internet.

But broadband subscriber growth has stalled for both Comcast and Charter as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have rolled out 5G home and fixed wireless broadband products. That makes additional loss of video subscribers potentially more harmful for the companies.

Satellite TV providers DirecTV and Dish, which don’t have high-speed broadband products…



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