In Sky's latest bid (after getting Sony and Warner on the hook) to corner premium viewing content in the UK before rivals including Lovefilm and Netflix get traction, it has announced an extension to its 24-year agreement with Disney. Beyond guaranteeing Disney -- which means Lucasfilm, of course -- Pixar and Marvel flicks will be on Sky (plus Sky Go, and 3D movies on Sky 3D) a year before any other service, it's also creating a new Sky Movies Disney Channel in its lineup that launches March 28th. In order to reach those not with the typical TV package, the deal also brings Disney's movies to Sky's Now TV internet video service for users with a monthly movie pass. We're sure 24 years ago, such deals didn't cover so many devices or avenues of access but snagging exclusives to gain a market advantage has stayed exactly the same.
Introducing Sky Movies Disney – the home of new and classic Disney movies
Sky and Disney are working together to create a brand new television channel, Sky Movies Disney. The new channel will be the home of new and classic Disney and Disney/Pixar movies in the UK and Ireland, and marks the first time that Disney has been involved in a co-branded linear movie channel anywhere in the world. It is also the first time that viewers in the UK and Ireland will be able to watch all new blockbuster Disney-branded movies, as well as classics from the past, on one single channel.
The launch of Sky Movies Disney builds on Sky and Disney's 24-year relationship in the UK and forms part of a new wide-ranging agreement between the two companies, covering further movies, and Disney Channels, across multiple platforms and devices.
Launching in time for the Easter holidays on 28th March 2013, Sky Movies Disney will show recent hits including Brave, Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings and Wreck-It Ralph in their first pay TV window. Future releases that will be available include Oz: The Great and Powerful, Monsters University and The Lone Ranger. The new movies will be available on Sky Movies Disney from around six months after they have ended their run in cinemas and will be exclusive to Sky Movies for at least a year.
Alongside new releases, Sky Movies Disney will also offer an extensive library of classic Disney films, including Bambi and Pinocchio, as well as Disney/Pixar animated favourites such as Finding Nemo, Cars and A Bug's Life. Live action titles such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and National Treasure will also be available.
In addition to broadcasting in standard and high definition on the Sky Movies Disney channel, all of the new and classic movies will be available to view on demand and on the go. Sky TV customers will be able to watch movies on the move with Sky Go, on their smartphone, tablet, laptop or MacBook. NOW TV, Sky's new internet TV service, will also offer easy and flexible access to the Disney titles to customers who buy the Sky Movies monthly pass. Disney films available in 3D will be shown on the Sky 3D channel.
In addition to the launch of the new channel, the agreement gives Sky Movies the first subscription pay TV movie rights in the UK and Ireland to other titles distributed by Disney, including new movies from Lucasfilm, and also Marvel Studios features such as Iron Man 3 and Avengers Assemble, which will be broadcast across the Sky Movies portfolio of channels.
In addition to movies, the agreement covers Disney's TV channels - Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior - which will continue to be made available to Sky customers, alongside a new HD version of Disney Junior, launching in April. All Disney-branded channels will also continue to be available on Sky Go across a range of internet-connected devices. Additionally, Sky will launch a dedicated Disney section on its popular On Demand service, offering hundreds more hours of catch-up and library shows.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky's Chief Executive, comments: "The launch of Sky Movies Disney is great news for our customers and builds on the strong relationship that Sky and Disney have enjoyed for more than 20 years. We're delighted that an entertainment company of Disney's international stature has chosen to work with Sky on its first co-branded linear movie channel. This is a world-first collaboration that will excite millions of families and further strengthen our market-leading movies service."
Ian Lewis, Director of Sky Movies, adds:"Disney's movies are loved by all ages and generations, so we're delighted to be bringing this new channel to millions of families at no extra cost. Sky Movies Disney will be the home of new and classic Disney and Disney/Pixar movies and will offer all new titles at least a year before other TV channels or subscription services. The combination of Disney's fantastic movies and Sky's award-winning innovation means that customers will have the chance to enjoy the very best of Disney on their own terms, whether that's watching on demand, on the move or in 3D."
Diego Lerner, President, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, adds: "In launching these new initiatives, we are underlining Disney and Sky's shared goal: bringing high quality, creative entertainment to audiences in the UK and Ireland. The ways in which people watch TV and movies have changed immeasurably in the past 20 years, but consumers always seek out Disney's great stories and memorable characters."
Catherine Powell, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Media Distribution, Disney EMEA, adds: "Through the launch of Sky Movies Disney, we will offer viewers our broadest range yet of popular current and classic Disney and Disney/Pixar films, featuring many of our much-loved stories and characters. Building on the strong performance of our movies and Disney Channels in the UK and Ireland, this agreement will not only increase the range of Disney entertainment being made available, but also the devices and platforms that viewers will be able to enjoy them on."