Disney shuts majority of TV channels in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong

Disney is shutting down the majority of its TV channels in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in a bid to focus on and grow its streaming services. Quoting The Walt Disney Company, Channel NewsAsia reported that the consolidation of its media networks business in these two regions is part of the company's "global effort to pivot towards a direct-to-consumer-first model and further grow" its streaming services.

The channels reported to shut include Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life, FX, Fox Action Movies, Fox Family Movies, Fox Movies, Star Movies China, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports 3, Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 2. Additionally, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Nat Geo People and SCM Legend will also be culled, Channel NewsAsia reported quoting Variety.

Moving forward, Disney will manage a "streamlined TV portfolio" from 1 October onwards, covering Star Chinese Channel, Star Chinese Movies, National Geographic Channel, and Nat Geo Wild. According to Disney, the move will help it "align [its] resources more efficiently and effectively" to current and future business requirements.

The company's streaming service, Disney+, officially launched in Singapore on 23 February. Along with the launch, Disney also signed an exclusive agreement with StarHub to become an official distributor of the service with its TV, mobile, and broadband offerings. Citing StarHub, Channel NewsAsia said there will be "minimal impact" on its customers, who will still be able to watch films, series, and documentaries through Disney+. Meanwhile, Singtel is reportedly in talks with Disney "to understand [the situation] in better detail and assess the potential impact". MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Disney, StarHub, and Singtel for comment.

More than a year after its launch, CEO Bob Chapek said Disney+ has surpassed 100 million global paid subscribers, adding that the "enormous success" of the streaming service has inspired the team to be even more ambitious and to significantly increase investment in the development of high-quality content. It has set a target of more than 100 new titles per year, including Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. According to Chapek, its direct-to-consumer business is its top priority and its pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth. 

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