As of October 1st 2020 the three Disney children’s channels currently available in the UK – Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior – will no longer exist. From that date onwards, streaming service Disney Plus will be the exclusive home to Disney’s children’s programming in the UK.
That means after September, Disney Plus will be the UK’s sole legitimate route to shows such as XD’s DuckTales, Star Wars Resistance and Marvel’s Spider-Man, as well as popular re-runs of Disney titles such as the magnificent Phineas and Herb and Gravity Falls.
As reported by Deadline from an original report by Broadcast, the channel closure is due to a failure by Disney, Sky and Virgin to reach a new carriage deal following the launch of Disney Plus in the UK earlier this year.
Sky customers though, will still be able to access the Disney Plus app through its pay-tv platform. Other Disney brands such as Nat Geo and Fox will continue to broadcast as normal.
Here’s how the official Disney spokesman put it: “From October 1st, 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,” the statement continues, and the firm plans to “execute distribution agreements for Disney channels in many markets where Disney+ is also available.”
The UK launch of the Disney Plus streaming service arrived at a fortuitous time for many subscribers. Its March 24th landing date coincided with the start of UK lockdown due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, which left schools closed around the country and parents struggling to find ways to keep children entertained at home.
As a treat for fans in the US and select international territories stuck at home due to the pandemic, Disney brought the online streaming release of its hit sequel Frozen 2 forward from late June to mid-March. Due to existing arrangements with Sky however, UK Disney Plus subscribers weren’t able to enjoy the same treatment.