As of now, The Walt Disney Company is still busy completing its transitioning of 20th Century Fox and other media assets acquired since March 2019 from what is now called Fox Corporation. But in the previous year, 2018, what had initially seemed like a surefire deal between Disney and Fox was complicated by a rival bid for the same assets from Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal. Disney secured its original deal with Fox by not including the UK/Europe’s Sky plc pay-TV broadcaster, which Comcast picked up wholly. Now over a year later, Disney and Sky have inked an availability agreement for streaming Disney+ content.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that Disney and Sky have inked a deal that would allow the European pay TV juggernaut to carry the exclusive streaming platform Disney+ in a partnership covering several years. This agreement comes into being mere weeks before the popular upstart streaming service from the House of Mouse officially launches in Europe, following debuts in North America and the ANZAC region. It is quite the landmark arrangement considering that Sky is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comcast, which had briefly tested Disney in bidding for the Fox media assets years ago.
One notable detail about this multi-year distribution deal between Disney and Sky is that it is not exclusive in nature. That means Disney would entertain any other pay TV and mobile provider in the UK who wants to have Disney+ among its content offerings. For Sky, they will have the highly desirable exclusive content from the House of Mouse available first on their Sky Q high-end pay TV platform, followed a bit later by their own streaming service Sky Now. In addition to Disney media, the agreement will also allow streaming availability for content from 20th Century Fox as well.
The UK and a significant portion of the European market will soon get to enjoy Disney+ on its regional launch there this coming March 24. Already, Disney+ has partnered with Canal Plus, the premier pay TV provider in France, to include that streaming service among their product offerings to French binge-watchers. As for Sky, it is shaping up to be a major aggregator for streaming content from the US. Aside from its upcoming Disney+ package, it already has deals for streaming giant Netflix, with which it has ironed out an extended integration agreement last January.
Image from Broadband TV News