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Sky and Virgin Media Wave Goodbye to Disney UK TV Channels

Friday, June 26th, 2020 (2:07 pm) - Score 89,913

Disney has confirmed that it will soon no longer be possible to watch their linear TV channels via Sky (Sky Broadband) or Virgin Media after carriage talks failed to produce an agreement. Instead the channels will be moved to the company’s new Disney+ video streaming service from 1st October 2020.

The internet video streaming service launched across the UK back in March 2020 and has so far managed to attract 54.5 million subscribers worldwide in its first 7 months of operation (starting in the USA). Customers in the UK typically pay £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year (15% saving) for access to the new service.

Nevertheless Disney+ remains a new platform, with a lot of costs to balance under the hood, and thus many will be surprised by the news that Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior will all be leaving both Sky and Virgin Media’s UK platforms so soon after its launch. You can of course still access the content via the Disney+ app or website, but obviously that’s an extra cost if you were previously receiving it via an existing package.

In a statement Disney said: “From 1 October, Disney+ will become the exclusive home for content from Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior in the UK … The Walt Disney Company remains committed to our kids channels business and continues to execute distribution agreements for Disney channels in many markets where Disney+ is also available, with the goal of giving our fans multiple entry points to our storytelling.”

A Spokesperson for Sky said:

“We have over 5,000 episodes of on demand content alongside our brilliant linear channels, from our partners Viacom and Turner, and we’re investing more in our own Sky Kids Originals too, like Moominvalley and Morph. Kids can watch favourites like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol, SpongeBob Squarepants and the Amazing World of Gumball, all the wonderful LEGO content and much, much more. And it is all available in one place – together with the best apps, like Disney+ and Netflix – on Sky Q.”

A Virgin Media Spokesperson said:

“Virgin Media will continue to give its customers thousands of hours of fantastic kids programming, such as Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol, across a range of channels and apps as well as on demand and on the move.”


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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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57 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew

    That is quite a surprising move on Disney’s part to make suppose it makes Disney+ even better value for money for subscribers.

    • Avatar a welshman

      it does not surprise me in the slightest, nat geo will be next as this and its sister channels are owned by disney and once the contract is up with bt it will go from there too

    • Avatar tech3475

      @ a welshman

      If that means I get every episode of Aircrash Investigation on demand, then I’ll be happy.

    • Avatar Manc


      I’ll only get Disney plus if they put air crash investigation on as well but I don’t think they will because they have some sort of contract so it can only be shown in Canada

  2. Avatar JP

    Sky and Virgin must be spitting feathers, Pay TV certainly losing its luster.

    • Avatar Richard

      Viewing figures for the Disney channels have been dropping off a lot over the last year or two.
      Younger viewers don’t watch linear channels much – most of the viewing is of on demand content.

    • Avatar JP

      Based on what I see with friends that makes sense, but isn’t that the same with all channels really…

    • Avatar Harry

      Richard, how my friends and family been raiseing kids have been killing me when it comes to TV on demand/internet
      If the parents are watching TV as well as the guests, then the kid wants to watch some thing, the kid aged 4 just kept on saying I want to watch e.g minecraft or robox (am not joking these are true examples) they will keep anyoing the parents to the point they will do what the kid wants.

      When I just wanted to rip the TV out the parent (my older brother) hand turn the channel back, told the kid to shut up be happy what you got, your dad and other including your brother are watching something, if you want to watch Minecraft go to your room and watch it on your tablet.

    • Avatar Alex Tilson

      I did away with virgin last year, new freeview boxes work in the same way as sky boxes, also there is Netflix and britbox so far cheaper than sky or cable

  3. Avatar Scott

    Channels are available on BT TV but for how long? Assume that BT will drop the channels and direct customers via eventual Wholesaling of the Disney + service.

  4. Avatar Hamilton Susan

    How much will this cost. It was £5.99

  5. Avatar AndyC

    “Let it go, let it go
    Can’t hold it back anymore
    Let it go, let it go
    Turn away and slam the door”

    Sorry couldn’t resist…..

    Anyways im not surprised at all, i could see it happening as soon as they announced their own streaming service.

  6. Avatar Mahammad

    Hated Disney+ and other streaming platform like HBO Max etc since launch. Every shows be fragmented and pirating will be on the rise again.

    • Avatar Name

      Do you steal goods while on shopping Mahammad?

    • Avatar Mike

      I think file sharing will keep the prices in check and the streaming services will also be competing with each other, compared to a single Sky sub you can get quite a few streaming services for same price with no adverts.


      Unauthorized copying and depriving another of an object are not the same thing.

    • Avatar Noodle

      This whole segregation is bad for the consumer. Once, you paid £9.99 for one service (Netflix, or Amazon) Now everyone is at it for £4.99 but you have to pay multiple people. Go do the maths.

  7. Avatar Buggerlugz

    Good. Both Sky and Virgin need to start offering better value for money. Hopefully fewer channels will force them to do so, they won’t do so of their own accord.

  8. Avatar M

    Traditional methods of delivering content via STB hardware as the broadcasters see fit and not as consumers demand is slowly becoming unsustainable as content makers become more independent and this news along with the UKTV drama a while ago is showing how difficult it is to maintain. On the consumer side, paying a large sum of money every month to watch advertisements every fifteen or so minutes and mostly repeats at a time the broadcaster sees fit does not really sound too innovative nowadays.

  9. Avatar Michael V

    That was to be expected! Still disappointing for many.
    Read the report. Sky’s response was just an opportunity to promote itself, with no mention of the loss of the Disney channels.

    There’s CinemaHD app that can be side-loaded on Android devices. I make use of that quite a lot. More people could turn to apps like these to get their content for free.

  10. Avatar Craig

    I can’t imagine that the Disney Channels were the main selling point for Sky/Virgin, in my opinion streaming services are really the future and linear tv which both Sky/Virgin seem to base their subscriptions on must be in terminal decline.

  11. Avatar Pezza

    That’s alright, Disney plus is better value, no contract, and fully supports 4K and Dolby Vision. About time someone started to properly compete with the monopoly Sky and Virgin Media in the U.K., hopefully Amazon with sport will be next.

    • Avatar dave


      I think you need to look up the meaning of the word monopoly.

      Perhaps you were looking for the word “duopoly”?

      Oh wait, there is also BT TV and Talk Talk TV, so no you weren’t. You’re just an idiot.

    • Avatar Pezza

      Perhaps you should look up the sports Sky DO hold a monopoly over, like F1 where it is allowed to keep exclusive rights for till 2024, the teams have said they are aware of dropping viewing figures some citing Sky’s exclusive pay wall as a reason. So please don’t tell me they do not have a monopoly, they hold a lot of licenses too which is the reason you have a lot of films or programmes on streaming services in the US, but you won’t get them in the U.K. because Sky holds the licenses.

    • Avatar Pezza

      Oh I nearly forgot, Sky had to be forced to allow some of its programming and sports onto those competing platforms by force after being taken to court over it! Thank God for streaming services and the fact Amazon is interested in sports, a behemoth Sky couldn’t possibly defend against, good! Glad they picked up the tennis that Sky dumped.

  12. Avatar richard hourie

    I live in the Republic of Ireland and over here we have sky plus virgin media with the Disney TV channels so will this move effect us aswell or is it a UK only thing

  13. Avatar Mark Bradbury

    We have got the Disney + channel and never watch it on sky anyway. Because they dont show any of the films in 4k. This is why we watch it on the Disney plus app on our smart tv because on there loads of films are in 4k which is brilliant. So don’t watch it through sky guys because they are not giving you the proper film experience

  14. Avatar John Muir

    It was always on the cards since Comcast bought Sky instead of Disney.

  15. Avatar Sam Dofea

    It is strange because Comcast owns both Sky & Disney, so it would make sense to keep those Disney channels on the Sky Kids package. With regards to Virgin, removing them from their platform will increase value for money with Sky as people would need to use either Disney+ or Sky Kids to access the channels. But yeah, not going to happen.

  16. Avatar IPutLegosInMyAss

    I put 4 legos up my ass (2 of which were Lego people )

  17. Avatar Happy to not have TV

    We stopped Sky TV a while back now, only use Prime and Netflix much cheaper. And offcourse have disney + now. Oh and we pay our TV licence to make sure the BBC keeps the lights on.

    • Avatar Mike

      And in the basement where Saville used to roam.

    • Avatar Brian

      Someone else who does not mind being taxed to own a tv. It’s about time the Biased Broadcasting Corporation woke up to just how bad it really is, I do not use them so why should I pay them?

  18. Avatar Dog

    Simple, move your dish to another satellite. More, better content in HD at a much cheaper price

  19. Avatar PAYTV is extremely overpriced

    Pretty clear Disney are the unreasonable ones if two providers have failed to reach a deal.

    Disney execs will be doing high-fives in the board room branding this a “total success” after removing their channels from 12.32 Million PAYTV households.

    Do you really think there is an appetite to pay for a Set-Top-Box, Netflix, NowTV, Prime and Disney? I don’t think so.

    TV platform ownership figures found here, if you’re interested:


  20. Avatar Mike

    The breaking up of these services available on the sky platform costs customers more in the process. Look at football, the greed of fifa and the FA means customers in the uk now have to subscribe to bt, Sky and now Amazon to watch football/soccer and now different sports do the same thing we are seeing more and more people paying much more or having to do without if they cant afford all 3 services. All this under the guise of stopping monopolies. It’s all a con which earns the governing bodies of sports getting richer whilst costing fans more. In these sad times (covid-19) you would think the sporting bodies, focus more on getting their sport viewed by as many people as possible this would inevitably give our young kids bigger dreams and aspirations. Just like we had back in the 80’s and early 90’s.
    But no this would make too much sense because profit margins may suffer in the short term.

    • Avatar Mike

      If people are dumb enough to keep paying the high sports channel prices they shouldn’t be surprised when they get milked.

    • Avatar Pezza

      Oh dear oh dear, you couldn’t be anymore wrong! It was entirely on Sky when they paid over 4.1 BILLION POUNDS for the Premiership in 2015 for three seasons, it had to do a blind bidding war against BT, the Premiership I believe said the money they had been given was so much all the players received large pay rises… it was all on Sky and BT, but as BT paid over 1 billion mostly it was on Sky, who then ensured every single subscriber paid for it regardless if you watched the football or not. Sky then went on to pay over 3.5 BILLION in
      2018 for the Premiership again, and again ensuring every subscriber paid for it after.
      If you look at Sky’s earnings, that money is a significant chunk of its bottom line. On one sport and league…

  21. Avatar Steven Limbrick

    I have Disney plus and personally I don’t see what your missing. After a year or less I would have seen all that is any good to watch. If you have kids then it’s a reasonable deal. But as a no child family unless Disney make more series it’s not worth another year. A lot of programmes are absolute rubbish and really not worth the money. Even Star Wars and Marvel’s films will not get me to pay for another year it’s just not worth it and over hyped.

    • Avatar Daniel

      Hardly gonna break the bank 1.50 a week for loads of magical Disney content .some people are never happy what a bargain.

    • Avatar qqq

      @Daniel, it may be 1.50 a week however it’s paid in a lump sum; which some people just don’t have nor can justify for the content on Disney+.

  22. Avatar Gary Priestley

    It works out 1.50 a week for Disney+. With over 420disney movies plus marvel I think it a bloody good deal

    • Avatar Tommy T

      in this thread: 40 year old neck-beards who say Disney+ is a rip-off or has nothing to watch.

      Perhaps it’s not aimed at reddit shut-ins ?

  23. Avatar W

    I was wondering why Disney+ is half cheaper than Netflix (4 screens UHD). There is absolutely nothing interesting in Disney+

  24. Avatar Mm

    I am astounded that this is happening. Deffinitely wont be subscribing to disney+

  25. Avatar Tina

    Well I hope there going to drop subscription lower for less channel

  26. Avatar Merke

    is raising kids on disney brainwash still advisable?

  27. Avatar SomeGuy

    Who watches TV these days anyways?

  28. Avatar steve

    May explain why the Disney app is now available on sky boxes also their own documentaries channel….maybe to replace Nat geo if that goes too?

  29. Avatar Bishop of Bath and Wells

    Who cares. Disney+ is a rip off anyway. If the kids want something to do get them to play outside, in the garden, red a book, play a board game or watch free-view TV with there parents. Too much pandering to kids these days. They will learn when they grow up that stomping your feet and throwing a violent tamper doesn’t get to anywhere in the big boys world.

  30. Avatar NoTv4Me

    because everyone wants to have 6 or 7 different TV subscriptions.
    days were better when you didn’t have to have netflix, prime, disney+, nowTV and all the others to watch 1 or 2 shows.

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      Ah, the good old days of just BBC1, BBC2 and ITV.

    • Avatar Pezza

      Yeah.. all with no contract, and you can cancel and restart multiple times whenever you want… bliss… TV as it should be.. the streaming channels doing it right.

  31. Avatar Arthur

    Breaking up these platforms add up costs ££££ paying sepretley
    Disney Netflix Amazon Sky Bt Virgin

    Big Con rip off

    Tried Disney Free 7 days all repeats seen all the Marvel films kids seen most of Disney films
    Star-wars new Mandolorian only 2 episodes when in USA all episodes 1st season has finished bloody joke
    NOT worth £60 for repeats

  32. Avatar Greg

    Literally the only thing I’ve watched on my £49 first year sub is the Mandalorian.
    unless there is more “grown up” content, I cannot see myself renewing.

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