(UPDATE – 8:23PM): We have amended the information regarding the region-wide discontinuation of Disney XD, after receiving clarifications from Disney’s representative. Read more for further details.
ORIGINAL STORY (12:55 AM):
It has been more than a year since Disney officially launched Disney+ but the streaming service has yet to make its way to Malaysia. But recent news regarding the broadcast of its pay-TV channels may indicate that Disney+ is finally coming to our market.
Local satellite pay-TV operator Astro has recently announced that it will begin to offer the refreshed Kids Pack for its customers starting from 15 December onwards. Within that announcement though, there is one particular part that mentioned Disney Channel HD, Disney Junior HD, and Disney XD.
As it turns out, all three channels will no longer be broadcast on Astro starting from 1 January 2021.
Even more interesting, the announcement also mentioned that this actually applies not only for Astro but all Disney broadcasting partners within Southeast Asia.
While the reason behind the discontinuation of the three Disney kids channels was not mentioned in the announcement, we can only think of one reason: it might be related to Disney+. Back in June, Disney has closed the same three channels in the UK before making their contents available exclusively through Disney+.
However, that took place only three months after Disney+ was officially launched in the UK. In our case, Disney+ is not yet available in Southeast Asia except in Indonesia.
So, our guess could be off the mark. However, with the recent appointment of Ahmad Izham Omar as Disney+ Executive Director of Creative and Content for Disney+ SEA and the fact that Disney+ has been hunting for new hires in Kuala Lumpur since a few months ago, we think we might be on to something here.
Nevertheless, we are now reaching out to Disney in order to obtain further clarifications. So, stay tuned.
(Thanks for the tips, Josh!)
(UPDATE – 8:23PM):
Disney’s representative has reached out to us and noted that only Disney XD will be discontinued throughout Southeast Asia. The region-wide directive does not impact Disney Channel and Disney Junior although as per our initial report, they will no longer be shown through Astro on 1 January 2021.
As for the status of Disney+ in Malaysia, the company has nothing to announce at the moment.