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Disney launches first co-branded linear movie channel with BSkyB

BSkyB and Disney are to create a new TV channel in a move marking the first time the House of Mouse has been involved in a co-branded linear movie channel anywhere in the world. 

The launch of Sky Movies Disney is said to build 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 such as smartphones and tablets.

The new channel will be the home of new and classic Disney and Disney/Pixar movies in the UK and Ireland and will be set for launch in time for the Easter holiday period on 28 March 2013.

At launch it will offer recent hits including Brave, Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings and Wreck-It Ralph in their first pay-TV window and future releases to be made available will include Oz: The Great and Powerful, Monsters University and The Lone Ranger. In addition to the new releases it will also offer a 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.

Films 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. Sky TV customers will be able to watch movies on the move with Sky Go, on which Sky will launch a dedicated Disney section, and through the NOW TV over the top (OTT) service. All Disney-branded channels will also continue to be available on Sky Go and As well as being shown in HD and SD, Disney films available in 3D will be shown on the Sky 3D channel.

The agreement also 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. 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.

Commenting on the landmark deal, Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said: "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."

Added Diego Lerner, President, The Walt Disney Company EMEA: "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."

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