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Combined Sports Streaming Service Won’t Fuel Cord Cutting, David Zaslav Says

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Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav doesn’t expect the launch of the new sports-focused streaming service to impact live TV subscriptions much or further fuel cord cutting in any meaningful way.

The comments were provided during Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q4 2024 earnings call. Earlier in the day, the company released its earnings report confirming Warner Bros. Discovery ended 2023 with 97.7 million direct-to-consumer subscribers.

While some might assume the service would result in more homes cutting the cable cord, Zaslav suggests that won’t be the case. The reason being, the new service will target those that are not already tied to cable and not planning to sign up for a traditional live TV package.

According to Zaslav, 60 million of the 125 million households in America “are not in the traditional bundled cable ecosystem” and it is these customers that the new service will be aimed at.

We’re able to go after those that we’re missing. We’re missing those subscribers. The traditional cable industry is missing those subscribers. We think it’s very pro-consumer,” Zaslav said.

As Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery plans to target those who are not currently cable customers, Zaslav doesn’t see any issue with existing relationships with distributors, and expects the new service to fill in a gap in the market.

We’re going to be very aggressive with it. We’re going to be aggressive marketing it, and we think it coexists very effectively. We don’t see a lot of people unsubscribing to cable in order to get this. We’re going after the 60 million plus doors that are — they’re not thinking about getting cable when they get their own apartments,” Zaslav added.

The potential to impact the live TV market is something that’s been of concern for some. In particular, Fubo. The live TV provider recently filed a lawsuit against the three media companies, accusing them of collectively operating as a ‘sports cartel.’

John Finn

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