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Disney channels in UK go dark

PJ Masks is among the series moving to Disney+

Streamer Disney+ has become the home to all Disney Channel shows and movies in the UK after three of The Walt Disney Company (TWDC)’s linear TV channels in the country went dark on October 1.

The closure of Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD in the UK, which was confirmed earlier this year, came after the Mouse House was unable to agree on new carriage deals with pay TV platforms Sky and Virgin Media, while viewing of linear TV among UK kids continues to fall.

It means the media giant’s streaming service, already home to brands such as Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, receives more than 7,000 new episodes of programming.

These include shows Bluey, PJ Masks and Liv & Maddie, alongside Disney Channel original movies such as Descendants and Zombies, plus older shows such as Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.

TWDC had pledged to continue to invest in its linear brands but only as long as it makes financial sense to do so, following the launch of its direct-to-consumer (D2C) service. In the UK, TWDC’s other linear channels, Nat Geo and Fox, remain on air.

Former TWDC CEO Bob Iger said last year the media giant had a “balancing act” to do in terms of its shift to D2C while maintaining its traditional linear TV operations.

David Levine, VP of kids’ programming for Disney Channels in Europe Africa, UK and Ireland, left the firm, where he has spent the past 16 years, at the end of June.

Disney+ recently became available in eight more European countries as part of the international expansion of the streaming service.

Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg were the latest countries to get Disney+, which is now available in more than 25 countries.

The service offers original series such as Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian alongside library content from brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic, plus more than 600 episodes of The Simpsons.


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