BSkyB and Disney to launch new TV channel in UK

LONDON Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:02am GMT

A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California May 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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LONDON (Reuters) - BSkyB has extended its 24-year relationship with Walt Disney to create a new television channel which will show Disney films in Britain and Ireland.

Sky Movies Disney will launch on March 28 and marks the first time entertainment group Walt Disney has ventured into a co-branded, traditional movie channel, the companies said in a statement on Thursday.

The deal comes amid sluggish growth in Sky's pay-TV service, with it adding 25,000 subscribers in the last three months of 2012, well down on the more than 100,000 users it used to routinely add each quarter.

The channel will show new Disney releases at least a year before its competitors alongside classic films like Bambi and Pinocchio, all of which will also be available on demand via smartphones and laptops.

Sky will also get first subscription pay TV movie rights to other titles distributed by Disney as part of the deal.

(Reporting By Christine Murray; editing by Lorraine Turner)

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