The closures come in addition to the shuttering of 30 foreign networks by the company last year.
Walt Disney Co. plans to close 100 of its international TV channels this year as it marches toward a future where streaming services such as Disney+ are front and centre.
Speaking at JPMorgan’s annual Global, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Conference, Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek, said the closures come in addition to the 30 foreign networks the company shuttered last year.
Chapek said which channels and when they would close will depend on Disney’s contacts in those individual markets. Profits from some of its traditional TV networks are helping pay for programming that can run on its streaming services including Hulu and ESPN+ in the US.
The company has been pretty clear that Disney+ is its current priority, with the media giant having pulled its content back from channels on Sky and Virgin Media in the UK last year in readiness for the launch of the streamer.
“The great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+,” Chapek said. “That continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot toward direct-to-consumer.”
Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life and FX are among those due to be shuttered in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong later this year, less than three years since Disney acquired them through its purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Kids networks Disney Junior and Disney Channel are also being cut, according to local reports, along with Nat Geo People and SCM Legend. Fox Action Movies, Fox Family Movies, Fox Movies and Star Movies China are also being disbanded, along with five sports channels.
However, Disney’s recent Q2 results suggest that the SVOD boom of 2020 has cooled, with Disney+ falling short of analyst projections for new Q2 2021 subscribers. The streaming service still ended the period with 103.6m subscribers, however, which was up by 33.5m year-over-year. The total was significantly less than predictions of 109.3m though.
Looking to further boost its offering, last month saw Disney strike a multi-year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment that will see the Mouse House gaining US streaming and linear rights to movie franchises such as Spider-Man.