Disney is closing 18 channels in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong starting 1 October 2021. This marks the end of an era for the company who has a huge entertainment supply chain in the region.
Geek Culture understands that employees were informed about the closure earlier today in Singapore.
The 18 channels closing down in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong after more than two decades are entertainment channels Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life and FX; movie channels Fox Action Movies, Fox Family Movies, Fox Movies and Star Movies China; sports channel Fox Sports, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports 3, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2; kids channel Disney Channel and Disney Junior; Channel V; factual services Nat Geo People and SCM Legend.
The decision to close these 18 channels is so that the company can focus on its direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming model. Only 4 channels made the cut to D2C: Star Chinese Channel, Star Chinese Movies, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild.
Whilst the move may not be a shock to many, it leaves some questions for consumers of sports content. Fox’s sports channels include the rights to major sports events including Formula One, Australia Open, U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open. It is unclear what Disney plans to do for its sports consumers, though rumours suggest that the company may be working towards a D2C sports environment to address this issue.
Pay-TV platforms, such as SingTel Mio and Starhub, will have a giant hole to fill in their line-up. Likewise, consumers who subscribe to pay-TV platforms for access to these 18 channels may have to revise their subscription.
With many Disney staff impacted by the closure, the company has come up with a new staffing structure and unfortunately, we know of some impending departures including Singapore-based marketing head Daniel Tan, Asia-Pacific head of marketing for studio marketing Shoba Martin and Tom Batchelor. It is unclear if they were let go as part of the restructuring as we understand that numerous Disney folks have been let go.
Batchelor previously held the positions of VP of studio operations, theatrical and Disney+ content localisation and live entertainment, and Asia-Pacific VP music Southeast Asia. Disney has yet to disclose how many people will be leaving the company as a result of the closure.
Going forward, Fox Network Group content executive Michael Dick is now put in charge of D2C acquisition for the region as well as channels for Southeast Aisa, including Indonesia. Andy Baek has been tipped as head of media networks for Indonesia/Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with a dual role in direct-to-consumer programming business and Karan Paul, who is currently head of business transformation has been named head of D2Cbusiness operations.
“As part of The Walt Disney Company’s global effort to pivot towards a D2Cfirst model and further grow our streaming services, the company is consolidating its Media Networks business primarily in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. These efforts will help us align our resources more efficiently and effectively to current and future business needs,” said Disney in a statement announcing the closure to employees earlier this morning.
The news was first reported on Content Asia.