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Disney announces closure of 100 international TV channels

The Walt Disney Company plans to close 100 international TV channels by the end of the year as it continues to shift its focus to its direct-to-consumer model and streaming service Disney+.

Speaking at JPMorgan’s annual Global, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Conference this week, Mouse House CEO Bob Chapek revealed plans to switch off further networks, following recent closures in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, with more to follow in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in October.

Chapek said that which channels and when they would close will depend on the contacts that Disney has in those individual markets.

The company has been pretty clear that Disney+ is its current priority, with the media giant having pulled its content back from channels on Sky and Virgin Media in the UK last year in readiness for the launch of the streamer.

Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life and FX are among those due to be shuttered in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong later this year, less than three years since Disney acquired them through its purchase of 21st Century Fox.

Kids networks Disney Junior and Disney Channel are also being cut, according to local reports, along with Nat Geo People and SCM Legend. Fox Action Movies, Fox Family Movies, Fox Movies and Star Movies China are also being disbanded, along with five sports channels.

Disney’s recent second quarter results however suggest that the SVOD boom of 2020 has cooled, with Disney+ falling short of analyst projections for new Q2 2021 subscribers. The streaming service still ended the period with 103.6 million subscribers, however, which was up by 33.5 million year-over-year. The total was significantly less than predictions of 109.3 million though.

Looking to further boost its offering, last month saw Disney strike a vast multi-year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will see the Mouse House gaining US streaming and linear rights to movie franchises such as Spider-Man.