Fox not planning to join ESPN in suing Verizon

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 04 May 2015

Twenty-First Century Fox is not planning to join ESPN in suing Verizon over its skinny TV service.

As Fox chairman and CEO Peter Rice said during an earnings call: "I'm not going to talk about ESPN's lawsuit. I think we'll work with Verizon; we'll look at what they're doing, we'll see how it evolves."

Custom TV allows consumers to take a core package of 35 basic cable and broadcast channels for $54.99, then choose between two of seven add-on packages of themed networks, including two sports packages, kids, lifestyle, etc. Critically, the scheme breaks up Disney's ABC and ESPN channels in the bundle.

Disney and FOX have both said they haven't agreed to the strategy, and that the network unbundling violates the distribution contracts they have in place with the telco. Following the grousing, Twenty-First

Century Fox had joined Disney in refusing to air ads for Verizon's new service in some markets.

Then, ESPN filed a lawsuit last week against Verizon over the offering, alleging that the launch is a breach of contract.

Verizon, however, said that under its programming agreements it is allowed to create the product.

"Consumers have spoken loud and clear that they want choice, and the industry should be focused on giving consumers what they want," a Verizon spokesperson told Variety. "We are well within our rights under our agreements to offer our customers these choices."