Cord-cutters trying to escape the escalating price of traditional cable and satellite TV services are quickly finding prices of live over-the-top (OTT) streaming services are getting more and more expensive as well.

The latest revelation came to light this week through an IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the owner of sports-friendly live over-the-top streaming TV provider FuboTV. In the filing, FuboTV made known that one of its competitors and content providers, Disney–which owns ESPN among other leading sports and movie content platforms–is a surprise investor in FaceBank Group, which merged with/acquired FuboTV last April.

Previously, Facebank Group had in part specialized in making avatars and characters for virtual entertainment.

As it turns out, Walt Disney Co. acquired 5% of FaceBank Group through its earlier acquisition of assets of studio 20th Century Fox as the House of Mouse was putting together its new successful Disney+ premium subscription video on demand (SVoD) streaming service.

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According to a report on the Motley Fool, Disney owns shares of convertible preferred stock worth some 6.63 million shares of common stock in FaceBank. FaceBank is in the process of changing its name to FuboTV.

Disney, which has made clear its plans to build its presence in the streaming world, also owns the majority of Hulu (a competitor to FuboTV with 3.4 million subscribers), in addition to its hugely successful Disney+ platform. FuboTV has an estimated subscriber base of between 300,000-400,000 and growing.

Meanwhile, FuboTV recently added a number of channels owned by Disney including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, SEC Network and ACC Network, ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, and National Geographic. In the process, it raised the price of its Family plan $5 per month from $60 per month to $65 per month and moved Standard package subscribers to the Family plan. Those remaining with the Standard Plan also took a $5 per month fee hike to $60 a month, according to Cord Cutters News.

Further, FuboTV continues to aggressively grow its stable of channels beyond those with a sports focus. In June, Fubo TV also announced a new, multi-year carriage agreement to bring 13 Discovery networks to Fubo TV’s live TV streaming service.

FuboTV made known its IPO plans this week by filing form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the process it also revealed plans for a secondary stock offering, the Motely Fool reported.

In its recently released 2019 year-end, and Q1-2020 financial reports, FaceBank said it generated first-quarter revenue of $7.3 million, compared with no revenue in the year-ago period, but tripled its operating loss to more than $18.1 million, for a net loss of more than $55.6 million.

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By Greg Tarr

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