In an effort to further grow its streaming services, Disney announced that it is shutting down most of its television channels in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.
On 27 April, The Walt Disney Company announced that it is “consolidating its Media Networks business primarily in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong”, as part of the company’s global effort to pivot towards a direct-to-consumer-first model and further grow its streaming services.
Among the channels that will be shut down include Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life, and FX, Disney Channel, Nat Geo People, as well as sports channels like Fox Sports, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports 3, Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 2.
The move, however, meant that pay-TV subscriptions will likely to continue to decline as more content moves to over-the-top (OTT) streaming service. It is noted that Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Telekon Malaysia are already seeing a decrease in its stocks, with The Edge stating that Astro is falling three sen or 2.8% to RM1.04, with some 1.12 million shares traded.
However, media analysts are saying that the development will not impact Astro as much since viewership for some of the Disney content is low compared to its local content, stating that subscribers preferred even the Malay cartoons than the ones airing on Disney Channel.
On the other hand, Singapore’s local telco StarHub is also reassuring that there will be “minimal impact” on customers since they are also the official distributor of Disney+ in Singapore after signing an exclusive agreement with Disney.