New Players for Disney Canada

Astral Launches Disney Playhouse

For the first time, Disney is turning over the key to the clubhouse. The entertainment giant has never before turned its brand over to another broadcaster, but now Astral Media will own and operate Disney Playhouse in Canada, the companies have announced. The channel is Astral’s 18th in Canada. It will debut on Bell ExpressVu, with other carriage deals reportedly in the works. The channel is aimed at two- to eight-year-olds. It will air programming produced in Canada and around the world. The new business model is a test, and could be used elsewhere as Disney seeks international expansion opportunities in specialty TV. Montreal-based Astral has bought Disney programming for its Family Channel over the past 20 years. Disney is now allowing Astral to use the brand, rather than simply sign another programming deal.

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