26 JUN 2020

DISNEY SHUTS DOWN LINEAR CHANNELS IN THE UK, MOVING ITS CONTENT TO DISNEY+

Starting 1st October, Disney+ will become the exclusive U.K. home for Disney's content. The decision will leave Sky Cinema Disney as the only Disney-branded channel on either Sky or Virgin in the country.

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The Walt Disney Co. will close down its three linear branded children’s TV channels, Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the U.K. this fall and move content to streaming service Disney+. Starting 1st October, Disney+ will become the exclusive U.K. home for the content. "The Walt Disney Company remains committed to our kids' channels business and continues to execute distribution agreements for Disney channels in many markets where Disney+ is also available, with the goal of giving our fans multiple entry points to our storytelling,” a statement read.

The decision will leave Sky Cinema Disney as the only Disney-branded channel on either Sky or Virgin in the UK. National Geographic and Fox, both acquired by Disney in the USD 71 billion takeovers of 20th Century Fox, will continue to operate. PP Foresight Analyst, Paolo Pescatore called the U.K. news "a landmark moment." "The streaming revolution is gathering pace and cannot be ignored," he said. "Companies can no longer continue to support a slew of channels and cannibalize revenue streams. The future is all about streaming and this latest move sets a benchmark for others to follow suit."

The switch-off occurred exactly 25 years after the Disney Channel first launched in the UK market, and is a reflection of Disney’s commitement to expanding its SVOD, which has to date gathered more than 54 million subscribers. It has gotten more challenging for Disney and its distribution partners in Britain to strike carriage deals for the company's three kids networks that make financial sense for both sides, making the consolidation of the channels' content a logical next step.

A representative for Comcast-owned pay-TV giant Sky U.K., which earlier this year struck a distribution deal for Disney+, states that the company has 5,000 episodes of on-demand content alongside its linear channels, such as Viacom and Turner. It is also investing we’re investing more in its Sky kids originals, such as “Moominvalley” and “Morph.” Other popular kids’ shows include “Peppa Pig” and “Paw Patrol,” “SpongeBob Squarepants” and “The Amazing World of Gumball,” and more.

The streaming revolution is gathering pace and cannot be ignored. Companies can no longer continue to support a slew of channels and cannibalize revenue streams. The future is all about streaming and this latest move sets a benchmark for others to follow suit.” Paolo Pescatore PP Foresight Analyst