Disney is reportedly planning to shutdown 18 of its television channels in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia as the entertainment conglomerate puts greater importance on D2C streaming. This move would be effective from 1st Oct. 2021.
Most of the channels set to be closed joined the group not more than three years ago as part of the acquisition of Disney of 21st Century Fox. These include sports channel Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1, Fox Sports 3, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports; movie channels Star Movies China, Fox Movies, Fox Family Movies, and Fox Action Movies, as well as FX, Fox Life, Fox Crime, and Fox. Also including factual services SCM Legend and Nat Geo People; kids channel Disney Junior and Disney Channel.
While, only four Disney-owned linear channels would survive the cull those are Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic Channel, Star Chinese Movies, and Star Chinese Channel.
Disney+ has not yet had a complete roll-out in the region. However, in Indonesia, where it was introduced in September 2020 namely as Disney+ Hotstar, and Singapore, where it launched in February, the streaming service has been a major hit.
According to a Disney spokesman, the firm would continue to have a robust media as well as entertainment business in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia including its D2C business, games, consumer products, studio entertainment as well as publishing business, serving partners and consumers alike across the region.
This new move might have a disturbing effect on sports and pay-TV platforms in the region. Fox and Disney channel have been a very huge part of the offering of subscription packages of pay-TV offered by the likes of PCCW’s NowTV in Hong Kong and Starhub as well as SingTel in Singapore. Their end from October might mean a descending pressure on subscription charges.
The shutdown of the five sports services might also have serious implications for sports rights deals and their owners. Amongst the key sports deals of the channels are those for Wimbledon, French Open, U.S. Open, the Formula One and Australian Open.