Disney Channel
2019 Disney Channel logo.svg
Third variant of the May 23, 2014 logo used since 2019
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersBurbank, California
Programming
Language(s)
Picture format
Ownership
OwnerDisney General Entertainment Content
ParentDisney Branded Television
Sister channels
History
LaunchedApril 18, 1983; 39 years ago (1983-04-18)
Former namesThe Disney Channel (1983–1997)
Links
WebcastWatch live
WebsiteOfficial website
Availability
Streaming media
Service(s)Fubo TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV

Disney Channel, sometimes known as simply Disney, is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of Disney Branded Television, a unit of the Disney General Entertainment Content division of The Walt Disney Company.[1]

Launched on April 18, 1983 under the name The Disney Channel as a premium channel on top of basic cable television systems, it originally showcased programming towards families due to availability of home television sets locally at the time. Since 1997, as just Disney Channel, its programming has shifted focus to target mainly children and adolescents. The channel showcases original first-run children's television series, theatrically-released and original television films and other selected third-party programming.

As of September 2022, Disney Channel is available on basic cable and satellite in over 190 million American and global homes. Original programming/content on/from the channel spans television, online, mobile, video on demand and mobile platforms, with the latter dominated by the DisneyNOW website-app hybrid product. There were 46 Disney Channels available in 33 languages worldwide,[2] but some have either shut down or declined in viewership since 2016 in parts of Europe and most of the Asia-Pacific due to the rise of social media and streaming media platforms as well as the successful launch of Disney+ in certain countries/regions/territories from 2020 onward.

History

Main article: History of Disney Channel

Disney Channel launched nationally as a premium channel at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time on April 18, 1983 under the name The Disney Channel.[3][4] The channel's development with help from its founding president Alan Wagner, and formally announced the launch of its family-oriented cable channel in early 1983. The channel – which initially maintained a 16-hour-per-day programming schedule from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time – would become available on cable providers in all 50 U.S. states by September 1983, and accrue a base of more than 611,000 subscribers by December of that year.[3][5][6] In October 1983, the channel debuted its first made-for-cable movie, Tiger Town, which earned the channel a CableACE Award.[6] The channel had reached profitability by January 1985, with its programming reaching 1.75 million subscribers by that point.

In September 1990, TCI's Montgomery, Alabama, system became the first cable provider to carry the channel as a basic cable service.[6] Between 1991 and 1996, a steadily increasing number of cable providers began shifting The Disney Channel from a premium add-on offering to their basic tiers, either experimentally or on a full-time basis; however, Walt Disney Company executives denied any plans to convert the channel into an ad-supported basic service, stating that the premium-to-basic shifts on some providers was part of a five-year "hybrid" strategy that allowed providers to offer the channel in either manner.[7][8][9] On April 6, 1997, the channel officially rebranded as Disney Channel, although occasionally marketed as "Disney" from 1997 to 2002.

Programming

Main article: List of programs broadcast by Disney Channel

Movie library

Main article: List of Disney Channel original films

Television films have also been produced for broadcast on Disney Channel since its launch under the banner of Disney Channel Premiere Films until October 1997 and Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) thereafter.

The most successful original film under the banner in terms of popularity and accolades is High School Musical 2, which debuted on 17 August 2007 to 17.2 million viewers[10] and set a current longstanding record for the highest-rated television premiere in the history of the channel. It also set a basic cable record for the single most-watched television program until December 3, 2007 when corporate sister channel, ESPN, surpassed it with the telecast of an NFL game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens on its Monday Night Football programme by 0.3 million viewers more (17.5 million viewers). The Cheetah Girls media franchise was also notably successful in terms of merchandise and sales for its concert tours and soundtrack albums. Its debut film from 2003, being the first Disney Channel original musical television film, premiered to over 84 million global viewers and its sequel premiered to 8.1 million American viewers and in the process became the most successful of the film series. An 86-date concert tour featuring the eponymous girl group was ranked as one of the top 10 concert tours of 2006, smashing the record at the Houston Rodeo previously set by Elvis Presley in 1973, selling out with 73,500 tickets in three minutes at one point.

In addition to its original television films, Disney Channel has rights to theatrically released feature films, with some film rights shared with sister network, Freeform. Alongside films released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (mainly consisting of releases from Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar), the channel also maintains rights to films from other studios. Some films released by Bagdasarian Productions (such as The Chipmunk Adventure and Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein) have also aired on Disney Channel, although most of them are not currently owned by any of The Walt Disney Company's divisions.

Programming blocks

Current

Former

Bumpers

In between regularly scheduled programming and advertisement breaks, Disney Channel features bumpers. These bumpers have varied in content substantially throughout the history of the channel, created using a broad array of artistic methods such as traditional animation, digital animation, claymation, live action, and puppeteering. They have been praised for their high quality composition and ingenuity. [32]

However, they became especially iconic in late 2002, when Disney Channel underwent a major rebranding, including in its bumpers and logo. These bumpers highlighted the iconic 'mouse ears' logo throughout them, featuring various videos that culminated in both the appearance of the logo, alongside a newly introduced theme song, which is regarded as its most recognizable and is still used to this day. This theme song consists of a four-note mnemonic jingle composed by Alex Lasarenko, former executive of Tonal Sounds and creative director at Elias Arts.[32][33]

In addition to its logo and jingle, Disney Channel's most recognizable bumper format consists of a celebrity or figure from one of its programs holding a wand and drawing the then-current form of the Disney Channel logo on the screen. This celebrity will introduce their name, the program they're featured on, and finish with the line "And you're watching Disney Channel." Dubbed a 'Wand ID' by fans, this format typically ends in a variation of the mnemonic.[32]

Related channels and programs

Current sister channels

Disney Junior

Main articles: Disney Junior and Playhouse Disney

Disney Junior is a daily morning program block aimed at preschoolers, spiritually succeeding Playhouse Disney which launched on April 6, 1997, as part of Disney Channel's morning lineup. On May 26, 2010, Disney-ABC Television Group (now Walt Disney Television) announced the expansion of the block in to a 24/7 cable and satellite channel which debuted on March 23, 2012.[2] The channel would be commercial-free channel and compete with other preschooler-skewing cable channels such as Nick Jr. and Sprout (now Universal Kids).[34] The channel features programs from Disney Channel's existing preschool programming library and films/movies from the Walt Disney Pictures film library. On its launch, Disney Junior took over the channel space held by Soapnet – a Disney-owned cable channel featuring soap operas – due to that genre's decline in popularity on broadcast television and the growth of video on demand, online streaming, and digital video recorders negating the need for a linear channel devoted to the soap opera genre. After a period during which cable providers unwilling to drop the network immediately retained it to prevent subscriber cancellations, Soapnet ceased all operations on December 31, 2013.[35] The former Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel rebranded as Disney Junior on February 14, 2011, along with the existing international channels. Disney-ABC Television Group once planned to launch a Playhouse Disney Channel in the United States in 2001, however it never happened despite launching internationally.[36]

Disney XD

Main article: Disney XD

Launched on February 13, 2009[37] as the successor to Toon Disney, Disney XD is a cable and satellite television channel which was originally aimed at young male audiences aged 6 to 14, but has since included girls in its programming.[38] The channel showcases action and comedy programming from Disney Channel and the former Jetix block from Toon Disney, alongside some first-run original programming and off-network syndicated shows. Like its predecessor, Toon Disney, but unlike sister channels. Disney Channel and Disney Junior, Disney XD operates as an ad-supported service. The channel carries the same name as an unrelated mini-site and media player on Disney.com, which stood for Disney Xtreme Digital, though it is said that the "XD" in the channel's name does not have an actual meaning.[39]

Former sister channels

Other services

Service Description
Disney Channel HD Disney Channel HD is a high-definition simulcast feed of Disney Channel that broadcasts in the 720p resolution format; the feed first began broadcasting on March 19, 2008. Most of the channel's original programming since 2009 is produced and broadcast in HD, along with feature films, Disney Channel original movies made after 2005, and select episodes, films, and series produced before 2009. Disney XD and Disney Junior also offer their own high-definition simulcast feeds.
Disney Channel On Demand Disney Channel On-Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of the channel's original series and Disney Junior programming, along with select original movies and behind-the-scenes features to digital cable and IPTV providers.
DisneyNow DisneyNow is a TV Everywhere service that allows subscribers to Disney Channel on participating television providers to stream the channel's programming live and on-demand.[48] This service

The service succeeds Disney Channel's original TV Everywhere service, "Watch Disney Channel", which launched in June 2012;[49][50] in September 2017, Disney replaced the separate apps for Disney Channel, Junior, and XD with DisneyNow.[48][51]

Disney+ Launched in November 2019, Disney+ is a subscription video-on-demand streaming service owned and operated by the Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) (now the Media & Entertainment Distribution) division of The Walt Disney Company. The service primarily distributes films and television series produced by The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television, with the service advertising content from Disney's Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, and Star Wars brands.[52][53]
Former services
Disney Family Movies Disney Family Movies is a defunct subscription video-on-demand service that launched on December 10, 2008, replacing Disney's previous service MovieBeam, which used a data stream from over-the-air television stations to offer purchasable films from the studio via a set-top box. The service offered a limited selection of movies and short films from the Walt Disney Pictures film catalog for a fee of about $5 to $10 per month, making it similar in structure to Disney Channel's original model as a premium service.[54][55] Disney Family Movies was discontinued on October 31, 2019, prior to the launch of Disney+, which offers a wider film selection beyond cable on-demand provider deliveries.[56]

Production studios

Disney Television Animation

Main article: Disney Television Animation

Also known by its trade name, "Disney Channel Animation", it is the television animation production studio division of The Walt Disney Studios and based in Glendale, California, providing original animated programming for the 3 main Disney-branded children's channels.

It's a Laugh Productions

Main article: It's a Laugh Productions

A live-action production studio based in Studio City, Los Angeles, California, that provides original sitcoms and comedy programs primary for Disney Channel. Despite being the prime production source of Disney Channel shows, many of its projects are still co-produced and financed by The Walt Disney Company.

Disney Europe Animation

Disney Europe Animation is the network's European animation studio located in London, England, which provides other original programs within Europe.

Disney Original Documentary

Disney Original Documentary is a banner from Disney Branded Television for documentary-based programs broadcast on Disney Channel and released on Disney+.[57]

Media

Video games

In 2010, Disney Channel All Star Party was released for the Nintendo Wii.[58] The four-player mascot party game, in which the stages resemble board games, features characters from Disney Channel programs such as Sonny with a Chance, Wizards of Waverly Place, and JONAS L.A. Several video games based on the Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb were released by Disney Interactive Studios. The Disney Channel website also features various Flash games incorporating characters from the channel's various program franchises. There have also been games based on Kim Possible and Hannah Montana.

Marketing programs

In June 2012, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would stop advertising or promoting food or beverage products that do not meet strict nutritional guidelines. Disney Channel purportedly became the first media company to take such a stance on stopping the marketing of junk food products to kids. Due to its commercial-free format, such advertising appears only in the form of underwriter sponsorships during promotional breaks.[59]

On July 1, 2012, Disney Channel began providing Descriptive Video Service audio in compliance with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which required network owned-and-operated stations and affiliates in the 25 largest television markets as well as the five highest-rated cable and satellite channels (including Disney Channel) to offer audio descriptions for the blind. Since July 1, 2012, Disney Channel now presents an on-screen mark at the beginning of certain programming on their schedule to refer that the program has audio description for visually-impaired, in order to comply with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Certain episodes of Gravity Falls, Austin and Ally, Good Luck Charlie and Phineas and Ferb show the AD))) mark and a 2-tone sound repeated 3 times at the beginning of the episode to notice the audio description track available through the SAP feed. Disney Junior airs the AD)) mark and the intended SAP track on newer episodes of Little Einsteins. (ABC airs this mark of the bottom-left corner of the screen.)[60]

International

Main article: Disney Branded Television § List of Disney Channels

Disney Channel has established presence in various regions and territories worldwide, including Canada, Latin America[61] & Brazil,[62][63] Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal,[64] Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria,[65] Poland,[66] Scandinavia,[67] Greece, the Middle East,[68] Africa, Israel, India and Japan. Channels for Australia, New Zealand, Italy, the UK & Ireland, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong,[69] Taiwan,[70] and Turkey[71] used to be available, but were shut down in the early 2020s with most content instead moving to Disney+.[72]

On December 14, 2022, Disney Channel in Russia will cease broadcasts in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[73][74][75][76]

Disney Channel also licenses its programming to air on certain other broadcast and cable channels outside the United States (formerly including Family Channel in Canada), regardless of whether or not a localized channel feed already exists in that country.

See also

References

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Bibliography