When Verizon announced its $55 discounted cable TV subscription block, it seemed an awkward compromise as the company tries to keep its customers from switching to cheaper streaming services. But now the ESPN sports network is suing Verizon in New York state court for including it in those custom packages, which ESPN claims is a breach of contract, Bloomberg reports.
Verizon announced the custom TV package two weeks ago, betting that fewer users will stray to streaming TV if they have a cheaper cable option. Verizon’s slimmer custom TV package seemed to have an advantage over streaming services: Verizon’s relationships with networks. The live TV-streaming service PlayStation Vue has CBS, NBC, and Fox, but not ABC or PBS, while Dish’s Sling TV has no access to network content. But Verizon’s advantage may erode as the Disney-owned ESPN takes specific issue with how Verizon packages its content in this slimmer subscription service.
Verizon’s custom TV package was already risky, The New York Times reported, as it endangers the careful ecosystem wherein TV groups sell bundles of channels to cable providers, which repackage those bundles to sell to individual subscribers.