Big announcement by Disney, ready to shut down 100 cable channels, including Star Sports in SE Asia

Big announcement by Disney, ready to to shut down 100 cable channels, including Star Sports in SE Asia
Big announcement by Disney, ready to to shut down 100 cable channels, including Star Sports in SE Asia

Disney to shut 100 Channels: As reported earlier, Walt Disney’s focus to push their Direct to Consumer story is gaining more & more momentum by the day. In a major announcement, Disney has now declared that they will shut almost 100 cable channels this year as it shifts towards building more robust D2C story. Disney had earlier announced that 18 channels including Star Sports & Fox Sports in SE Asia will be closed down.

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The plans were revealed by Disney’s chief executive Bob Chapek.

“We closed 30 channels in fiscal year 2020 or in 2020. We plan to close 100 in 2021,” said Chapek, who was speaking at JPMorgan’s annual Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference.

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“We will continue at a robust rate. We’ll continue to migrate [content] to Disney+, the great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+.

“The decisions that we make in individual channels and individual markets, and the timing of such, are sort of framed up by [terms of] existing deals…some of the constraints we’ve got there. But as you can see, that continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.”

SS no longer on TV: The comments were followed by Disney’s decision to shut numerous sports channel in South-East Asia  and Hong Kong, signaling another move towards DTC. 18 channels will close in the region including Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Fox Sports, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 3 by September this year.

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Disney to shut 100 Channels – Will the announcement also impact the Indian market?

Chapek did not made it clear, if any of the Disney channel in India will also be shut down. But he revealed some insights into the Indian market approach for Walt Disney.

Chapek acknowledged it required a vastly different approach for Disney in the world’s most populated country.

“We have an unparalleled collection of entertainment and sports in our Hotstar offering, something we’re really proud of. But India is really a unique market because we have particularly what I’ll call mass-market pricing and distribution,” he said as quoted at the conference.

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“It’s a unique market in terms of that distribution because it’s really a mobile-first market, which is kind of unusual. They have low bandwidth, so [we] have to tailor our offerings to match that low bandwidth and local languages are particularly important there. So we have to sort of customize for each of those unique elements,” he opined.

It is worth noting that Star Sports Network in India operates multiple language channels especially in sports and holds rights to some of the biggest sporting properties in the country including IPL, BCCI Rights & ICC Rights.

Disney to shut 100 Channels: All of these 3 big rights are coming up for renewals in next 12 months, it will be interesting to see how Disney approach re-acquisition of these rights and how it will impact their India strategy if they lose them from their grasp.

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