Ahead of the UK launch of Disney Plus, Sky has insisted that its customers will not lose The Simpsons or other Disney-owned TV shows or films until at least next year.
Disney Plus will launch in the UK on March 24, and in the lead-up to the big day there have been fears that various Disney-owned properties are about to disappear from Sky. However, Sky has insisted that is not the case.
“For the immediate term, for the next year or so, our customers will not notice any difference at all to what they’ve got,” Zai Bennett, the managing director of content for Sky UK, told the Must Watch show on BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday.
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In January, however, a report revealed that, between April 2019 and October 2019, the total number of series of Disney-owned ABC TV shows available on Sky’s Now TV service fell from 99 to 45.
The show that has caused the biggest stir is The Simpsons, which is a regular fixture on Sky 1. The Simpsons is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, which was purchased by Disney in 2019.
At the time of publication, it isn’t clear if the much-loved show will be available on Disney Plus UK at launch.
Asked about its fate, Bennett simply stated: “Simpsons is on Sky.”
Sky is facing huge challenges on multiple fronts at the moment, with Amazon making a very successful recent entry into Premier League broadcasting, the Premier League itself exploring the the idea of its own direct-to-consumer streaming service, and of course, losing crucial chunks of its library to Disney in the near future.
“What we try to have is something for everyone in the family, if they have a Sky package. About half our customers don’t have sports, so there’s half of them that love the drama, the comedy, the entertainment that we’ve got already. It’s about making sure the family’s all catered for,” Bennett said.
He was also asked about Sky’s place in the world, in relation to big-name streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus.
“[Sky is] a very different proposition,” he said. “Sky’s for people that want that full-fat bundle [and] hundreds and hundreds of channels. Sky Atlantic’s got everything from HBO, everything from ShowTime, and loads of original drama. And that’s just one of our channels.
“Plus we’ve got Cinema, Sports, News, so it’s a very different proposition to an Apple or Disney Plus or Netflix, which are mostly just in the drama/ents world.”
He added that the company is trying to provide something for everyone through Sky and Sky’s streaming platform, Now TV.
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“Sky TV is for people who are happy to have a longer contract, pay a bit more, have the technology in the home, the box, the 4K, the remote control that you can voice-activate,” Bennett said.
“And Now TV’s for people that want a bit more convenience, you don’t want a contract, maybe you can’t have a dish. They’re for very different people.”