Disney Unifies Kids’ Cable Channels in ‘DisneyNow’ App

Disney’s cable networks group has brought together shows, movies, games, and other content from its three networks — Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior — into a single app: DisneyNow.

Previously, Disney had separate apps for each network. As with the predecessor apps, DisneyNow offers access to full episodes and live streaming of Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD to customers of participating cable, satellite, telco or internet TV providers. Each network also offers a selection of full episodes available for anyone to watch, without pay-TV credentials.

DisneyNow is aimed at reinforcing the media conglomerate’s existing pay-TV biz — and is separate from the Disney-branded direct-to-consumer movie-streaming service, currently slated for 2019 when Disney’s movie-output deal with Netflix expires.

This summer, Fox Networks Group executed a similar move: Its updated Fox Now app brings together shows from Fox, FX and National Geographic together for the first time on a digital platform.

For authenticated users, DisneyNow provides in-season stacking for current series including: Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack,” “Raven’s Home,” “Bizaardvark,” “Stuck in the Middle,” “Tangled: The Series”; Disney Junior’s “Vampirina,” “Elena of Avalor,” “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” “The Lion Guard,” “Puppy Dog Pals” and “PJ Masks”; and Disney XD’s “DuckTales,” “Star Wars Rebels,” “Walk the Prank,” “MECH-X4” and “Milo Murphy’s Law.”

“The decision to consolidate our Disney Channel ‘Watch’ apps into the new DisneyNow app was driven by what kids told us they want in a video experience,” said Kimberly Hicks, VP of digital media for Disney Channels. The new app “enables us to showcase great stories and characters, and bring the magic of Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior to their daily lives.”

The three Disney Channel-branded Watch apps have been downloaded more than 40 million times since they debuted in 2012, according to the company.

DisneyNow also provides customization and personalization features, including a “Disney Junior Only Mode.” Disney Channels is selling custom sponsorship opportunities for the app, which can include sweepstakes and interactive-video ads.

Other features of DisneyNow:

  • User profiles: Each family member can create a profile and pick a Disney emoji avatar from a selection of more than 180 characters at launch. The profiles let individual household members resume watching a show where they left off or watch new episodes of their favorite shows.
  • Games: The new app will include more than 60 games and activities including “DuckTales” adventure game “Duckburg Quest,” Princess Elena of Avalor in “Flight of the Jaquins” and the Villain Kids in the “Descendants 2 Wicked Style” activity. New games will be added monthly.
  • Platforms: DisneyNow is currently available for iOS and Android mobile devices, Apple TV, Amazon Kindle and Roku players. Versions of the app for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV as well as access via the web are slated to launch in 2018.
  • Disney Channel original movies: The app will include a range of movies available to watch on-demand. Those include Disney Channel’s “The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular” (available ahead of linear premiere); “Wizard of Waverly Place: The Movie” (Oct. 12).

Other content coming to DisneyNow soon includes the series premiere of Disney Junior’s “Vampirina”(Oct. 1); the first episode of season 2 of “Elena of Avalor” (Oct. 14); new episodes of Disney Junior’s “Mission Force One,” the new chapter of “Miles from Tomorrowland” (Oct. 16); and the season 2 premiere of “Andi Mack” (Oct. 27).

In addition, DisneyNow includes Radio Disney’s musical performances and in-studio appearances by recording artists Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, and others.

More info is available on the DisneyNow website at disneynow.com.

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