The Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior will leave the Sky and Virgin Media platforms in the United Kingdom at the end of September. The Disney+ subscription online video service, which launched in the United Kingdom on 24 March, will be the exclusive home of all new Disney programming. The rollout of Disney+ will also be extended to more European countries in September.
The Disney+ service has reached over 54 million subscribers worldwide since launching in November 2019 in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. It expanded to a number of other European countries in March 2020.
Disney said in a statement: “From 1 October, Disney+ will become the exclusive home for content from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the UK.”
“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.”
The removal of the linear Disney channels is currently restricted to the United Kingdom and will not affect other European countries. Other channels from Disney, including National Geographic and Fox, will continue to be available on Sky.
Disney Plus is available to Sky Q customers as an add-on subscription, with an integrated app, as well as a being available separately on other devices.
Jeremy Darroch, the group chief executive of Sky, said in March: “We’ve built a strong partnership with Disney over three decades and we’re pleased that our customers in the UK and Ireland can continue to enjoy their world-class content — all in one place on Sky Q.”
Disney+ is set to launch in eight more markets in Western and North Europe from 15 September. It will be available in Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Iceland and Luxembourg for €6.99 a month or €69.99 a year. It will be 59DKK a month or 598DKK a year in Denmark, and 69 kroner a month or 689 kroner a month in Norway and Sweden.
So far, the Disney+ online strategy seems to have been a success. It marks a significant change from a reliance on television platforms for distribution to moving to direct-to-consumer approach.