Disney is pulling its live television channels from Sky Q and Virgin Media TV V6 boxes this year. From October 1, the Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior will no longer be available to those with subscriptions to Sky TV, Virgin Media, BT TV services. For families who cough-up for designated “Kids” bundles on paid-for television packages, this is likely to be a mighty blow. Sky is keen to point out the plethora of other kids-orientated channels still available on its Sky Q boxes, but there’s no doubt, Disney was a big draw to some subscribers.
You will still be able to watch Disney channels. But they’ve now shifted from Sky Q, Virgin Media, and BT TV to the Disney+ subscription service, which costs £5.99 a month and offers unlimited access to classic animated Disney films, recent live-action remakes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the complete Star Wars saga, and Discovery Channel films and shows.
Disney+ already boasts 54.5 million subscribers worldwide – despite launching in the United States just seven months ago. That’s some serious popularity.
Not only does Disney+ get the existing channels, but the company is exclusively commissioning content from the channels, including Secret Society of Second Born Royals and Phineas And Ferb The Movie. Despite early reports that boxsets and films were being pulled by Sky to ensure they were exclusive to Disney+ when it rolled out in the UK back in March, it seemed as if the arrival of Disney+ wouldn’t bring about any change to those who paid monthly subscriptions to Sky Q, NOW TV, Virgin Media and BT, with Disney movies still available on Sky Cinema channels, new episodes of The Simpsons airing on live channels, and more.
But with the change coming in October, that paradigm looks set to have finally shifted.
In a statement to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson for Disney said: “From October 1st, Disney+ will become the exclusive home for content from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the UK. 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 catalogue of Disney Channel titles in the UK, including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Descendants 3 and Phineas and Ferb.
“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. Disney+ offers the best stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic along with a host of exclusive Disney+ Originals.”
Addressing the removal of the Disney channels from Sky Q, a Spokesperson for Sky said: “We have over 5,000 episodes of on-demand content alongside our brilliant linear channels, from our partners Viacom and Turner, and we’re investing more in our own Sky Kids Originals too, like Moominvalley and Morph.