Disney Channel (Australia and New Zealand)

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Disney Channel
DC 2014 hero.svg
Launched8 June 1996; 23 years ago (1996-06-08)[1]
Owned byThe Walt Disney Company (Australia)
Disney Channel Worldwide
(Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International)
Picture format576i (SDTV 16:9)
Audience share1.3% (February 2008, [1])
Broadcast areaAustralia
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Formerly calledThe Disney Channel (1996–97)
Sister channel(s)Disney Junior
Disney XD (2014–19)
FoxtelChannel 707
SKY Network Television (NZ)Channel 100
Optus TVChannel 707
FoxtelChannel 707
TransTV DigitalChannel 201
Vodafone (NZ)Channel 100
Foxtel NowChannel 707
Fetch TVChannel 144
Streaming media
Foxtel GoChannel 707

Disney Channel (originally called The Disney Channel from 1996 to 1997) is a pay television network that is broadcast in Australia and New Zealand. It is the flagship television property owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company in Australia. Launched in 1996, the network is targeted towards children and their families, with original series and movies.

The network's programming is composed of original animated and live action television series sourced from Disney Channel in the United States, including their original made-for-cable movies, as well as screenings of Disney's theatrical releases and other acquired programming.

It is currently available on Foxtel and Fetch TV in Australia, and on SKY Network Television in New Zealand.


Disney Channel was first broadcast by Optus on 8 June 1996; the first program scheduled was the television premiere of Aladdin.[1] It became available though Austar on 1 April 2001,[2] through Foxtel on 1 December 2001,[3][4] and through TransTV on 21 January 2002,[5]. It was formerly available on SelecTV from September 2008 until the closure of its English service in late 2010.[6][7] The network launched on New Zealand's pay television network, SKY Network Television, on 24 December 2003.[8]

Disney launched the Playhouse Disney channel in Australia and New Zealand on 5 December 2005, which later rebranded as Disney Junior in 2011.[9][10] An additional network named Disney XD launched on 10 April 2014, featuring programming targeted towards boys aged 6–14.[11] Disney XD ceased broadcasting on 6 January 2019, with a selection of programming moving to Disney Channel thereafter, including Star Wars Resistance and various Marvel animations.[12] With Disney XD being integrated into the main channel, the service would now contain fewer advertisement breaks.[13]

In August 2016, Disney Channel Australia hosted its third local "FanFest" event, at Martin Place in Sydney.[14] The network organised a concert featuring American singer Sabrina Carpenter, which was hosted by the Australian network's personalities, and live streamed on the website.[14] General manager of the network, Leisa Sadler, noted the importance of brand activation through having a physical event for fans to connect with, and appreciated the opportunity to promote the channel's local programming.[14] More than 2,000 people attended the event and over 3,000 watched online.[14] Previous "FanFest" events featured personalities Bridgit Mendler and Ross Lynch.[14]


Disney Channel's programming schedule mainly consists of live action sitcoms and animated series for children, sourced from Disney Channel in the United States. Titles airing in the 2000s included Hannah Montana, Kim Possible, Lizzie McGuire, Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Sabrina.[8][15] Programs broadcast by the network in the 2010s have included Andi Mack, Austin & Ally, Big Hero 6: The Series, Girl Meets World, K.C. Undercover and Raven's Home.[16][17][18][19]

Disney Channel's schedule also includes internationally produced series acquired by Disney Channel Worldwide, including Hotel Transylvania: The Series, Rolling with the Ronks! and The ZhuZhus.[17][20][21] In January 2017, Disney Channel acquired the license to air the local Australian series Grace Beside Me, a co-production between NITV and ABC, which premiered in March 2019.[22][23]

The network airs event screenings of Disney's theatrical releases, with Pixar films including A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and classic animations such as Aladdin and The Emperor's New Groove.[1][8][18] Also featured are Disney Channel's original made-for-cable movies, including the High School Musical and Descendants franchises.[15][18]

Disney Channel Australia has also commissioned and produced several of its own scripted drama series, including a local version of As the Bell Rings, and original miniseries Mind Over Maddie.[15][24][25] In 2013, the network debuted a local short-form series titled Hanging With, which takes the form of an afternoon variety show, featuring hosts who act as the faces of the channel and present programming news and other entertainment segments.[18] In 2019, the network produced a short-form miniseries entitled Spread the Word, which explores words from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.[26][27] Other local programming has included Backstage Pass and Radio Disney Insider.[14][28]

Programs that moved to the network after the closure of Disney XD in 2019 included Big City Greens, DuckTales, Gravity Falls, Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Star Wars Resistance and various Marvel animations including Marvel's Avengers Assemble and Marvel's Spider-Man.[12]

Disney Channel also offers an on demand service by which viewers can access full episodes and movies through their network providers. In 2019, SKY added all episodes of Kim Possible to correspond with the release of the live action movie based on the series.[29]

Sister channels[edit]

Disney Junior[edit]

Disney Junior is a 24-hour Australian cable and satellite channel available on local platforms. It launched on 5 December 2005 as Playhouse Disney and rebranded on 29 May 2011 as Disney Junior, with programming targeted towards children aged 2–7.[10][9][30]

Disney XD[edit]

Disney XD was a 24-hour Australian cable and satellite channel available on Foxtel. It launched on 10 April 2014. All of the programs targeted boys aged 6–14.[11] The network ceased broadcasting on 6 January 2019.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Elder, Bruce (2 June 1996). "Disney to the rescue". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney: Fairfax Media. p. 1. Retrieved 21 December 2009. The Disney Channel, which kicks off with the TV premiere of Aladdin at 6.30 pm on Saturday, June 8
  2. ^ "News on the Hour". Illawarra Mercury. Illawarra, Australia. 17 March 2000. p. 55. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Hitting Disney heights". TV Plus. The Sunday Mail. 16 December 2001. p. T35.
  4. ^ "Package Updates". Foxtel. 2001. Archived from the original on 14 December 2001. Retrieved 1 December 2009. You'll be able to enjoy a world of fun and adventure, with Disney Channel coming to FOXTEL for the first time! Disney Channel becomes part of our Entertainment Plus package, moving TCM from Entertainment Plus into the Movies package.
  5. ^ "Transact to screen 24-hour Disney films, animation, on its 12th channel". The Canberra Times. Canberra, Australia. 20 January 2002. p. 10.
  6. ^ Shoebridge, Neil (15 September 2008). "WIN's on to a winner as SelecTV ups service". The Australian Financial Review. p. 16. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  7. ^ Chessell, James (20 August 2010). "Bruce Gordon's SelecTV to make changes". City Beat. The Australian. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Sky To Launch Three New Channels". Scoop. Scoop Media. 19 September 2003. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b Alarcon, Camille (1 December 2005). "Disney makes new friends". B & T Weekly. 54 (2546): 23. ISSN 1325-9210. Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  10. ^ a b Knox, David (25 May 2011). "Playhouse Disney rebrands as Disney Junior from Sunday". TV Tonight. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b Knox, David (24 February 2014). "Disney Movies, Disney XD join Foxtel". TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Nik (1 December 2018). "Disney XD is closing" (Press release). Foxtel. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Sky to offer Disney programmes in one channel". Telecompaper. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Joshi, Kruti (12 August 2016). "Disney fans swarm to Martin Place for FanFest". Mediaweek. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "As the Bell Rings". Girl.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Big Hero 6 The Series To Air In Australia". Heavy Mag. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  17. ^ a b Spark, Mikala (29 May 2017). "Foxtel Kids App June Highlights" (PDF). Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d "The Walt Disney Company". Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA). Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  19. ^ Knox, David (21 September 2017). "Airdate: Raven's Home". TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  20. ^ Berkenblit, Laura; Lim, April; McTeague, Michelle (29 August 2016). "Nelvana and Disney Channels Worldwide Sign Multi-Territory Broadcast Deal for New Animated Series Polly and the ZhuZhu Pets". Corus Entertainment Inc. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  21. ^ Vlessing, Etan (20 June 2016). "Hotel Transylvania TV Series Headed to Disney Channels Worldwide". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  22. ^ Knox, David (19 January 2017). "NITV announces first local drama". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  23. ^ Knox, David (18 July 2017). "Cameras roll on Grace Beside Me for NITV". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Australian Television: Mind Over Maddie". Australian Television Information Archive. 28 June 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Disney Channel Australia". The Screen Guide. Screen Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  26. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (5 July 2019). "Disney Australia orders Indigenous language series". Kidscreen. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Disney Channel partners with Media Farm on Indigenous language series". Mumbrella. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  28. ^ Milton, Ashleigh (26 May 2013). "Naomi swaps Disney for a starring role in new video". St. George & Sutherland Shire Leader. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Kim Possible". SKY Network Television. March 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  30. ^ Diaz, Amanda (26 May 2011). "Disney Junior to launch in Australia this Sunday". If Magazine. Retrieved 2 July 2017.

External links[edit]