Fox to Close in the UK

Disney owned TV channel Fox is to close in the UK and Ireland, in the latest phase of Disney’s move away from linear TV to on demand streaming.

The channel is currently broadcasting via the Sky satelite, and Virgin Media cable platforms, but will close on the 30th June (2021). Some content is expected to migrated to Disney+, under the Star brand.

Fox had been available in the UK for 17 years, and the its closure in the UK and Ireland is the latest stage in its gradual withdrawal.

Massive Price Hike for Disney+ Users

Subscribers to Disney+, the on-demand streaming platform for Disney owned content, are to face a massive price hike in 2021.

From the 23rd of February, the UK price will increase by around a third, from £5.99 a month to £7.99 a month. The annual price will become £79.90.

This is despite the platform extending Disney’s own expectations, reaching 86.8 million worldwide subscribers, since the roll-out which began in 2019 and reached the UK earlier this year.

Simpons Season 31 to Premiere on Disney+

Now owned by Disney, the 31st season of The Simpsons will premiere on subscription streaming service Disney +.

22 episodes will be available in the UK and Ireland from 6th November (2020).  All previous episodes and The Simpson Movie are already available on the platform.

Launched in 1989, The Simpsons is the longest running scripted prime-time show in television history.

Disney+ Reaches 60.5m Subs

Disney+, the online streaming service from Disney, has now reached 60.5 million worldwide subscribers.

It had planned to reach the 60 million – 90 million range by 2024, and has hit the lower end of that range ahead of schedule.

The growth of the platform has been boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with Netflix also seeing increased numbers of subscribers.

Disney+ Performs Poorly on Samsung TVs

A new study from enhanced TV agency Terravolt suggests that users are unhappy with the performance of Disney’s streaming service Disney+ on Samsung’s TVs with the Tizen operating system.

Among the issues reported are long loading times for preview images, jerky scrolling, and an un-intuitive keyboard which can over-complicated the log-in process.

The problems do appear to be isolated to the Tizen powered Samsung Smart TVs, although it is unclear whether the problems are caused by the TVs, or the Disney+ app itself.

BBC Premier League Record, Success for Hamilton on Disney+

Attracting a peak audience of 5.7 million, the BBC has set the record for the most viewed Premier League game with their broadcast of Southampton vs Manchester City. The previous record was set by the Manchester United and Manchester City derby game in 2012, which was viewed by 4 million.

Although not normally a rights holder for live premier league games, the BBC is showing 4 games live due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Disney’s switch of the release of the musical Hamilton to its Disney Plus platform appears to have been successful, with data from Apptopia showing the app had been downloaded 513,323 times over the July the 4th weekend. The recording of the Broadway musical was scheduled for cinematic release.

Additionally, there have been 71.5 million worldwide downloads of the Disney Plus app since launch. This figure excludes India or Japan, where the service has been integrated into existing apps.

Disney to Close Channels

Children’s channels Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD are to close in the UK. Unsurprisingly, this is part of the moving of content to Disney’s subscription streaming service Disney Plus, which will become the exclusive home for all of the content.

The move will take effect on October 1st, and will affect Sky and Virgin Media subscribers who currently subscribe to packages which include the channels.

Disney Plus launched in March this year, and costs £5.99 a month. Sky subscribers can access the service through the app on Sky Q.

The change is specific to the UK, although similar moves may made in other countries. Other Disney owned channels including National Geographic are not affected by the change.

Disney+ Launch Date Confirmed

Disney have confirmed that their Disney+ online streaming service will be available in the UK and Ireland from 31st March 2020.

Full details of the programme line up have yet to be confirmed, and might be impacted on existing rights deals with broadcasters.

The service will be available on a variety of platforms including:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, and fully integrated with the Apple TV app; customers can subscribe to Disney+ via in-app purchase)
  • Google (Android phones, Android TV devices, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices)
  • LG Smart TVs
  • Xbox One
  • Sony (all Android based Sony TVs and PlayStation4)
  • Roku (Roku streaming players and Roku TV models)
  • Samsung Smart TV