25 MAY 2021

DISNEY TO SHUT DOWN 100 TV CHANNELS DURING 2021

The conglomerate intends to shut down all of its networks across the globe, including its UK channels, as it gravitates towards a direct-to-consumer model, prioritizing its streaming outlets.

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The Walt Disney Company intends to shut down 100 of its international TV channels as it looks to move Disney Plus front and center. "The great majority of that content will migrate to Disney Plus,” CEO Bob Chapek said. "That continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.”

Speaking at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s technology and media conference, CEO Bob Chapek said the closures are in addition to the 30 networks the company closed down in 2020, including its UK channels. Chapek added that the closures will depend on contracts Disney has in individual markets.

While speaking on the drastic transition toward an all-digital, direct-to-consumer model, Chapek revealed that viewers are moving more towards watching content online and the move serves as Disney's attempt to keep up. The exact regions set to be affected have yet to be disclosed. “We don’t want to be on the back end of that wave,” he said. “We want to be on the front end of that wave."

This year, the company has added more content for grown-ups to its Disney+ offering in Europe, using the Star brand. Chapek said the majority of Disney+ customers in the region have begun watching the Star programming. “The great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+,” Chapek said. “That continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.”

Disney introduced Disney+ Hotstar in India last year. That service, which features cricket matches and other local content, now accounts for 30% of Disney+’s total subscriber count of 103.6 million globally. In April, meanwhile, Disney announced plans to close a number of its sports networks in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

The great majority of that content will migrate to Disney Plus. That continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.” Bob Chapek CEO, The Walt Disney Co.