Disney Junior to replace SoapNet, Playhouse
Disney/ABC Television Group is axing its SoapNet channel in order to launch a new 24-hour preschool kids channel that will replace the Playhouse Disney brand in the US and internationally.
Disney Junior is described as a "multiplatform brand" and will debut on cable and satellite platforms in the US in 2012. The brand will encompass a video-on-demand offering, a high-definition network and a Spanish-language feed.
The net will carry animated and live-action programming, and will air new Disney titles such as Jake & the Never Land Pirates and existing product including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, Imagination Movers and Jungle Junction. Movies are also part of the mix.
By cannibalising SoapNet, the new channel will be available in 75 million US homes at launch. The Disney Junior brand will be introduced on Disney Channel's daily programming block for preschoolers, currently branded Playhouse Disney.
"The launch of Disney Junior in the US is the next step in our global preschool strategy, which began 10 years ago with the premiere of our first dedicated preschool channel in the UK," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair at Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.
"The decision to ultimately transition SoapNet to accomplish this was not arrived at lightly. SoapNet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multiplatform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary. But today, as technology and our businesses evolve, it makes more sense to align this distribution with a preschool channel that builds on the core strengths of our company."
The Playhouse Disney brand, currently existing as 22 channels or blocks in 156 countries and territories, will be rebranded Disney Junior beginning in 2011.
26 May 2010
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