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Sky blocks out Netflix and LoveFilm again with Disney deal

BSkyB is to launch a new TV channel, Sky Movies Disney, after renewing its relationship with The Walt Disney Company, the fourth such deal since competition authorities decided not to regulate Sky's power in the market.

Star Wars: distributed by Disney and available as part of the Sky deal

Star Wars: distributed by Disney and available as part of the Sky deal

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The deal means UK consumers will continue to be able to watch new Disney films through Sky Movies and Now TV for at least a year before they are available on rival platforms such as Netflix and LoveFilm.

Sky and Disney's relationship goes back 24 years and Sky Movies Disney will be the first co-branded Disney linear TV channel in the world when it launches ahead of the Easter holidays on 28 March.

The deal covers all the films distributed by Disney, including the 'Star Wars' and superhero films from Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios respectively, as well as the linear and streamed rights for the TV channels, including the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

As part of the new agreement Sky is to launch a high definition version of Disney Junior in April and a dedicated Disney section on its on-demand service.

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Sky, said: "We're delighted that an entertainment company of Disney’s international stature has chosen to work with Sky on its first co-branded linear movie channel.

"This is a world-first collaboration that will excite millions of families and further strengthen our market-leading movies service."

In August 2012 the Competition Commission confirmed Sky would not face any restrictions over its film rights, despite finding that competition in the pay-TV retail market overall remains ineffective.

However, just a month after the CC's ruling Sky signed wide-ranging deal with Warner Brothers. In November 2012 Sky announced a deal with NBC Universal and then last month Sky confirmed it had signed a deal with Sony.

The pay-TV giant is yet to announce a renewed deal with the final two of the big six Hollywood studios, Paramount and News Corporation’s 20th Century Fox.

Although it has failed to get the UK rights for any of the major studios Netflix struck a major deal with Walt Disney to become its exclusive TV partner in the US.

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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