Disney’s shuttering of linear tv channels continues apace. The company plans to close 100 international networks this year, on top of the 30 it shut in 2020.
Speaking at JPMorgan’s tech, media, and communications conference, Disney CEO Bob Chapek framed the move as part of the company’s ongoing pivot to its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business, including streaming platforms like Disney+.
“The great majority of [the shuttered channels’] content will migrate to Disney+,” said Chapek. “And again, the decisions that we make in individual channels and individual markets, and the timing of such are sort of framed up by existing deals that we’ve gotten some of the constraints we’ve got there.”
He acknowledged that “to some extent our linear businesses right now are just generating a ton of cash flow,” but added, “over time, we’re in a multi-year transition to a very strong DTC business. And the pace of that could accelerate as we get out of Covid and as the consumers vote with their pocket books to go direct-to-consumer.”
Disney networks that have recently bit the dust include Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior in the U.K., which ceased to exist in October. Last month, the company announced that it will close 18 channels across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in October 2021, including Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Disney+ continues to perform strongly: globally, the streaming service has more than 100 million subscribers (a little under one third of which are Disney+ Hotstar customers in India).
Image at top: Disney Channel’s “Big City Greens”