Disney Channels Worldwide

Last updated
ABC Cable Networks Group, Inc.
Disney Channels Worldwide
  • Walt Disney Entertainment, Inc. (1982–1983)
  • The Disney Channel, Inc. (1983–1997)
  • Disney Channel, Inc. (1997–2001)
  • ABC Cable Networks Group (2001-2005; trade)
Industry Entertainment
GenreChildren and family
FoundedJuly 15, 1982;37 years ago (1982-07-15)
FounderAlan Wagner
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Gary Marsh (President, CCO)
ServicesTelevision channels
Subsidiaries It's a Laugh Productions
Website www.wdtvpress.com/disneychannel/

Disney Channels Worldwide is the trade name for the two units that oversee children and family television channels owned by The Walt Disney Company.


ABC Cable Networks Group, Inc., d/b/a Disney Channels Worldwide, is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. This subsidiary is headed by President/CCO Gary Marsh and is responsible for operating cable Disney Channels in the United States, such as Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, plus Radio Disney, Disney Television Animation and It's a Laugh Productions. Disney Channels Worldwide oversaw all Disney channels worldwide until the organization of the Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International segment on March 14, 2018 when the unit was split into two.

Disney Channels Worldwide international is a unit of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International that operates various children and family television channels around the world, including variations of the US channels plus Disney International HD, Dlife, and Hungama TV.

Disney Channel was originally established in the United States in 1983 as a premium channel, and has since converted to a basic service; in addition, Disney Channel's programming has also expanded internationally with the launch of various country-specific and regional versions of the channel, as well as program licensing agreements reached with television networks not bearing the Disney Channel brand.

Previous corporate names were: Walt Disney Entertainment, Inc. (1982–1983), The Disney Channel, Inc. (1983–1997), Disney Channel, Inc. (1997–2001).


Disney Channel, Inc.

On November 10, 1981, Walt Disney Productions and Westinghouse Broadcasting announced that they had joined up to start a family-oriented cable television service. [1] In 1982, Disney hired Alan Wagner to develop a cable channel. [2]

By July 15, 1982, Disney incorporated Walt Disney Entertainment, Inc., which was renamed by January 28, 1983 to The Disney Channel, Inc. [3] The Disney Channel was launched in April 1983 as a premium channel with 16 hours of programming [2] . [4] The channel became profitable in January 1985.

20 months after launch, the channel moved into the home satellite dish market thus scrambling its signal. The channel started moving to the basic cable level on September 1, 1990 with TCI Montgomery Cablevision. [4] In March 1995, the second Disney Channel began broadcasting in Taiwan [5] while the third is launched in October for the United Kingdom. [4]

By September 29, 1997, the corporate name was shortened to Disney Channel, Inc. [3] Disney had hired Geraldine Laybourne away from the Nickelodeon channel in 1996. She founded a kids channel codename ABZ, which the media speculated to be aimed at preschoolers. Laybourne dismissed this report. [6] In December 1997, the Toon Disney channel was announced as a basic channel consisting of Disney animated programming. [4] As of April 1, 1998, most of the international versions are pay channels while the Taiwan and Malaysia versions are ad supported and the USA version is a basic channel. [7] The Toon Disney Channel was launched on April 18, 1998 on the Disney Channel's 15th anniversary. [8]

In 2000, the Playhouse Disney preschool channel was launched in the United Kingdom, [9] while in the US, the Playhouse Disney block was launched on the Disney Channel. In June 2001, Disney was looking into launch Playhouse Disney as channel in the United States for 2002. [10]

ABC Cable Networks Group

Disney Channel, Inc. changed its name to ABC Cable Networks Group, Inc. by January 31, 2001. [3] In October 2003, ABC Family Worldwide was shifted from Disney COO Bob Iger's directly reporting unit to the ABC Cable Networks Group. [11] In early 2004, Disney Channel's original programming leaders took over ABC Family's original movies unit temporarily as two ABC Family executives left the channel. [12]

In January 2004, Fox Kids Europe, Fox Kids Latin America and ABC Cable Networks Group created the Jetix programming alliance that would rebrand Fox Kids as Jetix for all blocks, channels and companies. [13] ABC1 launched on the United Kingdom's digital terrestrial television platform on September 27, 2004. [14]

Disney Channels Worldwide

In November 2005, Barry Blumberg resigned as president of Walt Disney Television Animation to allow the planned transfer of TV animation to Disney Channels Worldwide. [15]

In 2006, Disney Television India acquired Hungama TV from UTV Software Communications Limited [16] Disney Cinemagic began broadcasting in the UK in March 2006 [17] to of several Cinemagic channels, including timeshift and HD versions across Western Europe. [18] ABC1 ceased broadcasting on all UK TV platforms at noon on September 26, 2007. [19]

In Spain, Walt Disney Company Iberia purchased 20% of Management Company Television Net TV SA (or NET TV) on February 2008. [20] In late May 2008, the company announced the move of Disney Channel to the digital over-the air space, replacing NET TV's Fly Music on July 1, 2008. [21]

The company's Japanese unit, Walt Disney Television International Japan, started procuring its own animated series in March 2008, with the first two series to debut at Tokyo International Anime Fair 2008. The company produced Stitch! with Madhouse Company, while Fireball was produced with Jinni's Animation Studios. [22]

After two Disney Channnel stars had various scandals, the company started a set of classes for their young stars in 2009 to adapt to the pressure of fame. Optional monthly life-skill classes were added in 2014. [23]

Disney XD (DXD) was launched in September 2009, taking over the channel space of Toon Disney in the US, [24] while Jetix switched over to DXD (or for some Disney Channel) starting with France on April 1. [25] In April, the Walt Disney Company, Ltd. Japan and Disney Channels Worldwide started Broadcast Satellite Disney Co., Ltd. to broadcast a women and family targeted channel called Dlife with licensed content, received in October 2010 and debuted on March 17, 2012. [26]

Jetix Play closed down on August 1, 2010 in most countries, [27] on September 1, 2010 in Turkey, and in Romania on March 12, 2011.[ citation needed ] In these countries, the channel was replaced with Playhouse Disney. [27]

On May 26, 2010, Disney–ABC Television Group announced the launch of Disney Junior, which would replace the Playhouse Disney Morning block on sister network Disney Channel in February 2011, and extend to a standalone preschooler-oriented channel that would replace Soapnet in January 2012. All 22 Playhouse Disney channels and blocks outside the U.S. were also renamed to "Disney Junior" in 2011. [28] [29] [30]

In October 2011, Disney reached a joint venture agreement (49%/51%) with UTH Russia, in which UTH will turn its broadcasting network Seven TV into a Disney Channel starting in early 2012. [31] On March 28, 2013, Cinemagic was replaced with Sky Movies Disney in the UK market under license to BSkyB. [32]

In April 2013, Disney announced that Das Vierte, its recent purchased broadcast station in Germany, would become a Disney Channel in January 2014 as a 24-hour family entertainment network. [33] Disney formed an in-house ad sales company called Disney Media + for the channel, given that two competitors control most ad sales companies. [34] [35]

Disney India Media Networks shut down Bindass Play, a Hindi music channel, and replaced it with Disney International HD on October 29, 2017. This general entertainment channel is in English and HD, targeted to ages 14 to 25 while only tapping Disney live action shows. [36] [37]

Company split

With Disney's March 14, 2018 reorganization, all international channels including Disney Channel have been transferred to Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, a new segment, while the US unit is still under Disney–ABC Television Group. [38] On January 9, 2019, Disney India Media Networks shut down Disney XD India and replaced it with Marvel HQ, a channel featuring shows and movies from Marvel Entertainment as well as some acquired programming. [39]

Shortly after the November 2019 launch of Disney+ in New Zealand, Disney shut down its linear channels there. Disney Channels Worldwide announced in June 2020 that on October 1, 2020 all three of the networks owned by Disney Channels Worldwide in the United Kingdom would be shut down with content thereafter would be available via the Disney+ streaming service as the extension of a carriage deal with Sky and Virgin Media could not be reached. [40]


The international on-air channel brands look are consistent with the Disney brand. Individual channel managers are allowed to develop schedules and marketing programs to allow children's preferences in the market. Additionally, local programming that meets Disney's standards, combined with difficulties, is acquired. If a program is successful in a market, its format may be developed for other Disney Channels' market viewing tastes. [7]

List of Disney Channels

Current channels

MarketTypeFormerlyLaunch dateOther nationsOperator
United States Channel HD (East) [41] N/AApril 18, 1983NoneDisney CWW [42]
Channel HD (West) [43]
TaiwanChannelMarch 1995 [7] The Walt Disney Company (Taiwan) Ltd.
UK and Ireland ChannelOctober 1995 [7] Albania, Estonia, Turkey, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, PolandDisney Co. Ltd. (UK/Europe) [44]
Channel +1 [45] September 2000Spain
Channel HD [46] 2011None
Malaysia ChannelOctober 1996 [7] The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia
France ChannelMarch 1997 [7] Belgium (Wallonia), Luxembourg, SwitzerlandDisney Co. France [47]
Channel +12002Belgium (Wallonia)
Channel HD2011None
Middle East and North AfricaChannel(English) April 1997 [7]
(Arabic) 1998 [48]
Arab World, Greece, CyprusDisney Co. Ltd. [49]
Channel HD2015
Spain Free-to-air channelApril 1998 [7] NoneManagement Company Television Net TV SA [50]
Channel +1 [51]
Pay-TV channel HD2012 [51]
PhilippinesChannel1998 [7] NoneThe Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia
Germany Channel1999 [7] Luxembourg, AustriaDisney Co. (Germany) [52]
Channel HD2011Austria
Free-to-air channel Das Vierte January 17, 2014 [35]
Israel ChannelJetix2009The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia
Latin America [7] Channel (Mexico) [53] N/A2000The Walt Disney Company Latin America [54]
Channel (Central feed) [55]
Channel (South feed) [56]
Channel (Brazil) [57]
Channel HD [58] September 2012
Southeast Asia ChannelN/AJanuary 2000Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, South Korea [17] The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia
VietnamChannelMay 2005 [59] NoneDisney Co. Ltd.
Japan ChannelNovember 2003The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. [60]
Scandinavia Channel [61] 2003Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania [62] Disney Co. Ltd. [63]
Channel (Norway) [64] None
Channel HD2012
Hong KongChannelApril 2, 2004Walt Disney Television International - Asia Pacific [65]
ThailandChannelJanuary 2005Walt Disney Television Intl. (Southeast Asia/Korea) [66]
Poland ChannelDecember 1, 2006Disney Co. Ltd. [67]
Channel HD [68]
Turkey Channel2007Disney Co. Ltd. [69]
Russia pay-TV channel Jetix March 2010CISDisney Co. Ltd. [70]
free-to-air network Seven TV 2012NoneJV with UTH Russia [31]
Greece ChannelN/A2009Disney [71]
AlbaniaChannelJune 1, 2012KosovoDigitalb [72]
CroatiaChannelSeptember 2012Bosnia and HerzegovinaDisney Co. Ltd. [73]
SerbiaChannelApril 2012Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro [74]
Bulgaria ChannelCEE JetixSeptember 2009 [75]
Romania ChannelSeptember 2009Bulgaria [76] Disney Co. Ltd.
Netherlands ChannelN/A2009Belgium (Flanders)Disney Channels (Benelux) B.V. [77]
Czech ChannelJetixSeptember 2009SlovakiaDisney [78]
Hungary ChannelSeptember 2009NoneThe Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia
SlovakiaChannelSeptember 2009Disney Co. Ltd. [79]
SloveniaChannelSeptember 2012Disney Co. Ltd. [80]
Portugal ChannelN/ANovember 2001The Walt Disney Company Iberia S.L. [81]
India ChannelDecember 17, 2004 [82] Disney India Media Networks
South AfricaChannel2006Disney Co. Ltd. [83]
Korea ChannelApril 1, 2011Television Media Korea (SK Telecom 51% and Disney Channels International 49% venture) [84] , The Walt Disney Company Korea LLC
Channel HDApril 1, 2011
Canada (English) ChannelSeptember 1, 2015 Corus Entertainment [85] [86]
Canada (French) Télétoon Rétro

† Management Company Television Net TV SA is owned by Vocento SA, The Walt Disney Company Iberia S.L. (20%) and Intereconomía Corporation SA. Which in addition to the Disney channels owns Intereconomia TV, a generalist channel. [50] [51]

Defunct channels

MarketTypeFormerlyActive dateFeeds/other countriesOperatorFate
Australia ChannelNoneJune 8, 1996 [7] [87] November 30, 2019 (New Zealand), June 8, 1996 [7] [87] April 30, 2020 (Australia)New ZealandThe Walt Disney Company AustraliaSelected programming moved to Disney+ following the channel's closure.
Italy ChannelNoneOctober 3, 1998 [7] [87] May 1, 2020SwitzerlandThe Walt Disney Company ItalySelected programming moved to Disney+ following the channel's closure.
Channel +1December 24, 2004 [7] [87] October 1, 2019
Disney in EnglishDecember 20, 2008 [7] [87] May 1, 2020
Channel +2October 1, 2011 [7] [87] May 1, 2020
Channel Mobile
HD ChannelFebruary 1, 2012 [7] [87] May 1, 2020
Singapore channelNoneJanuary 2000May 31, 2020The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia)Disney had requested for the first three channels to be closed down. It was replaced with Disney+ in the mid 2020 and 2021.


Disney Channel different channels around the world, each represented by one colour. Disney Channel feeds around the world.svg
Disney Channel different channels around the world, each represented by one colour.

Disney Channel Asia was launched in January 2000 as a single video feed with an English audio track being the default and Mandarin audio and subtitle tracks also available. The channel became available in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. On June 1, 2002, the channel was launched in the South Korea market as a Korean-language feed. [88] Over the first six months of 2005, Disney Channel Asia along with sister channel Playhouse Disney launched in Vietnam, Palau and Thailand and finishing off with a launch of both in Cambodia, its 11th market, with Cambodia Entertainment Production Co. Ltd. as distributor. [89]


Disney Channel was launched in Mainland China in December 2012. However, many of its live-action and animated series are still syndicated on regional channels through ABC owned Dragon Club since 1994. It also has a Chinese website. [90]


Previously, Disney programming was available through programming blocks starting as early as 1994 with Doordarshan then moving to Zee TV until the early 2000s. Disney moved its block to Sony Television for three years. Star TV pick up Disney TV blocks on Star Plus, Disney Time, and on Star Utsav. [91]

In December 2004, Walt Disney Television International India launched a Toon Disney channel with three language feeds (English, Tamil and Telugu) [92] at the same time as the Disney Channel with Star TV network distributing the channels. [93] Disney reached an agreement with Doordarshan (DD) in November 2005 for DD to carry a half-hour block called Disney Jadoo. Thus Disney was up to 4 branded blocks in India. [91]

Channel types per market

Market Disney Channel Disney Junior Disney XD Cinemagic
Disney Movies
United StatesApril 18, 1983 [4] West, East HD, West HD [94] March 23, 2012 [95] February 13, 2009 [24] Radio Disney
Radio Disney Country [96]
United KingdomOctober 1995, [7] +1, HDMay 2011, +1, HDAugust 31, 2009, +1, HD(2006–2013) Sky Movies Disney, HD (2013; BSkyB) ABC1 (2004– [14] 2007) [19]
FranceMarch 1997, [7] +1, HD2011, HDApril 1, 2009 ; HD(2007–2015, +1, HD) Disney Cinema (May 8, 2015 [97] ) Disney Nature TV (2012–)
Belgium (French)2012
PortugalNovember 28, 2001Junior(October 2008–2012)
SpainApril 1998, [7] +1, HD [51] June 20112009, HD2008January 1, 2015 Intereconomía TV (2005) † [51]
Middle East and North AfricaApril 1997 [7]
, HD
2011, HD2009, HD OSN Movies Disney HD (2018; OSN) [98]
Germany1999, HD20112009, +12009, HD
BulgariaSeptember 20092011
CzechSeptember 2009
HungarySeptember 2009
RomaniaSeptember 20092012
Russiapay television (August 2010); free-to-air (2011; UTH Russia Joint venture)2013 (Block)Radio Disney [99]
SlovakiaSeptember 2009
SloveniaSeptember 20092010
Italy1998, +1, +2, HD, Mobile, Disney in English2011, +1September 2009, +1, +2
Netherlands20092011–2019January 1, 2010
Scandinavia (Danish)2003, HD2011September 12, 2009
Scandinavia (Finnish)20032011September 12, 2009
Scandinavia (Norwegian)20032011September 12, 2009
Scandinavia (Sweden)20032011September 12, 2009
Serbia2012October 2009
Poland2006, HD2010September 2009
Turkey20072010October 2009
AustraliaJune 8, 1996 [7] [87] May 29, 2011 [100] April 10, 2014 [101] January 6, 2019 [102] Foxtel Movies Disney (April 10, 2014November 7, 2019) [101]
TaiwanMarch 1995 [7] September 1, 2011 [103] [ deprecated source ] (block)
2012 [104] (channel)
MalaysiaOctober 1996 [7]
Philippines1998 [7] July 11, 2011 [105] (PH) [106]
India December 17, 2004 [82] October 15, 2012 [107] November 14, 2009 [108] January 9, 2019 [109]
JapanNovember 2003Fall 2012 [110] August 2009 [111] Dlife (2012–2020)
Canada (DHX Media) [112] )English, French (both May 6, 2011 [113] September 18, 2015)June 1, 2011 [114] October 9, 2015 [85] Radio Disney [99]
Canada (Corus)English, French (both September 1, 2015)English channel (December 1, 2015), French block (November 30, 2015) [115] ABC Spark [85] [86]
Latin AmericaChannel [7] April 1, 2011 [116] July 3, 2009 [117] Radio Disney [99]
AsiaJanuary 2000July 11, 2011
VietnamMay 2005
South AfricaSeptember 25, 2006 [83] June 1, 2011 [118] May 11, 2011 [83]
Korea (Television Media Korea)April 1, 2011, HDApril 11, 2011, HD [84]


On April 16, 2015, Corus Entertainment announced that it had reached a multi-year agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group to acquire Canadian rights to Disney Channel's programming library, and launched Disney Channel in Canada on September 1, 2015—the first time that a Disney Channel-branded network has operated in Canada. [85]

Prior to this agreement, rights to Disney Channel programming had been held by Family Channel, a network owned by children's media conglomerate DHX Media which is licensed as a premium service but is carried as a basic service by many television providers. As a result of the fact that the majority of Disney Channel U.S.'s programs aired on Family, coupled with the fact that both channels developed similarly in their respective countries (as both began as premium services before adding availability via basic subscription), Family Channel was commonly considered to be a de facto Canadian version of Disney Channel (though it was often mistakenly assumed to be related to ABC Family (now Freeform), a sister network to Disney Channel U.S. which was formerly known as The (emphasis added) Family Channel from 1988 to 1998;[ citation needed ] a Canadian version of ABC Family (now Freeform) launched in March 2012, called ABC Spark [119] to avoid confusion with Family Channel, to which it does not share common ownership). Some Canadian-produced original series produced by Family (such as Life with Derek , Naturally, Sadie , and Overruled! ) have aired on Disney Channel in the United States and in other countries in the past. In addition to its distribution agreement with Disney Channel U.S., Family also operated an English-language version of Disney Junior as a multiplex channel, as CRTC rules allow pay-TV channels licensed as premium services to add multiplex channels consistent with the network's license. Disney XD and a French-language version of Disney Junior were also owned by DHX Media, operating under separate licenses.

DHX's program supply agreement with Disney ended on January 1, 2016; as a result of these re-alignments, its Disney-branded networks were re-launched as spin-offs of the Family brand beforehand on September 18, 2015 (Family Jr. and Télémagino) and October 9, 2015 (Family Chrgd). [85]


In April 2009, the Walt Disney Company Ltd. Japan and Disney Channels Worldwide started Broadcast Satellite Disney Co., Ltd. to broadcast a women and family targeted channel, Dlife  [ ja ], with licensed received in October 2010 and debuted on March 17, 2012. [26] In December 2013, Dlife launched a children's programming block called Disney Time. [120] The channel was shut down on March 31, 2020.

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