Disney exit to cause bidding war for prime EPG real estate.

With Disney channels no longer airing on linear TV in the UK, children’s broadcasters are circling to take on their prime positioning on the Sky EPG.


As of the 1st October 2020, the UK children’s TV market entered a world without Disney. This change could arguably not have come at a more challenging time. Having previously contributed less than 10% of total commercial children’s impacts (Jan-Aug), the first two weeks of September produced monumental YoY growth (+35%) in impacts across the Disney portfolio. Compare this to a market average of -23% decline, in which market leaders CITV (-42%) and Pop (-36%) have been struggling.

Therefore heading in to the all-important Q4 period when brand count and investment increases, every impact counts so we can little afford to be losing the fastest growing sales house.  The reaming children’s broadcasters know this, which is why a battle for supremacy on the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) is about to break out.

Disney previously owned channels 607-611, and it is known already that CBBC and CBeebies will take 607 and 608 respectively, elevating them to the first page of the Kids section. That still leaves 609-611, the first three spaces on the second page, and close proximity to the behemoth that is Cbeebies, up for grabs.

Whilst it might not be enough to address the declines being experienced across the board currently, there is a direct correlation between EPG placement and viewing success (amongst many, many other factors) which is why broadcasters Viacom, WarnerMedia, Sony, et al are currently locked in a sealed bid auction for the slots (expect to see NJR, Tiny Pop or Cartoonito pop up on 609 given the perceived benefit of appearing next to Cbeebies).

With the increased investment likely to be placed on these channels with the removal of Disney’s linear portfolio, any boost in viewing that such a move generates will be of huge benefit. Especially when you consider there is no guarantee that Disney’s entire linear audience will remain on TV, such is the importance of YouTube (over 5 hours per week) and SVOD platforms (over 6 hours per week) such as Netflix and Disney+ to children’s viewing behaviours…

Get in touch for a virtual coffee and chat about your TV strategy for this Autumn.


Source: MediaOcean/BARB.Giraffe Insights