Disney channels are disappearing from Sky TV and Virgin Media - here’s why

Disney fans with Sky TV or Virgin Media may notice their favourite channels disappearing soon.

By 1 October 2020 customers will only be able to access Disney content by subscribing to the paid streaming service, Disney+.

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The Disney+ service first launched in the UK earlier this year and has since gained 54.5 million subscribers worldwide in the first seven months.

Which channels are being cut?

The three channels being cut from both Sky and Virgin Media services are The Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior.

Meanwhile, other channels, such as Fox and National Geographic, which are owned by Disney, will still be available on Sky and Virgin Media as usual, with no need to subscribe to Disney+.

What if I have the Sky Kids subscription?

Unfortunately, if you are a Sky customer who pays for the Sky Kids subscription package, there will no longer be any Disney content included in your subscription.

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Instead you will have to pay extra for the Disney+ streaming service in order to access the usual Disney content, along with the usual price of your Sky subscription.

The Disney+ streaming service costs £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year.

What about Virgin customers?

Virgin customers will also no longer be able to access any Disney content through their usual Virgin Media subscription.

Additionally, since Disney+ is not a feature found in Virgin boxes, Virgin customers will have to access the Disney+ platform via the internet on laptops, tablets, or smart TVs.

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What prompted the move?

There has been speculation that Virgin Media and Sky’s decision to axe the Disney channels was a result of declining viewers, as fans moved to the new Disney+ service.

A report from Enders Analysis, a subscription research service, said, "It is unsurprising that Sky and Virgin have felt able to walk away from negotiations to carry the Disney kids’ channels - they have performed terribly over the past few years.

"In 2010 those aged four to 15 watched 11.5 minutes of Disney kids’ channels per day, it is now 1.3 minutes."

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.

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They added that the service “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."