The Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior will close in the UK this autumn with all content moving to Disney Plus, the entertainment giant has confirmed.
The move comes after Disney failed to reach new agreements for the kids channels with Sky and Virgin Media in the UK, according to the trade publication Broadcast.
A Disney spokesperson said: “From October 1st, Disney Plus will become the exclusive home for content from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the UK.”
The spokesperson added that “The Walt Disney Company remains committed to our kids channels business,” in other countries, and says that it plans to “execute distribution agreements for Disney channels in many markets where Disney+ is also available.”
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With the channels leaving UK screens in October, Disney says titles that had been planned for the Disney Channel and its offshoots will now go directly to Disney Plus. Those titles include Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Descendants 3 and Phineas and Ferb.
It told The Hollywood Reporter: “The direct-to-consumer service, which garnered more than 54.5 million subscribers worldwide in its first seven months, will now premiere all the latest films, series and specials from the three Disney Channels, along with offering a rich and expansive back catalog of Disney Channel titles in the UK”
Whether or not this was Disney’s preferred outcome remains to be seen. However, it makes sense for the company to focus on Disney Plus right now, especially given its tight integration with Sky Q.
Last week it emerged the company has called time on the concept of free trials as it looks to boost the number of paid customers. Disney Plus costs £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year in the United Kingdom, bringing access to a boatload of archive and original content from Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and more.
Disney’s other properties, like Nat Geo and Fox, will continue to air on UK TV.