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Why Disney+ Should Add Linear Channels

Peacock and Paramount+ have a cool feature that Disney+ should add - linear channels. We have ideas...

Please welcome back guest writer Ethan Holloway with an idea for a new feature that we fully endorse.

Back in 2019, Disney+ launched to thunderous applause, but since then several other streaming services have launched including HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount+. The latter two include something Disney+ does not have: built-in channels.

Recently on my “Disney Plus Or Disney Bust Podcast” I discussed why Disney+ could factor in using channels as a way to promote some of their content, so let me explain how Disney+ could utilise this feature to help people find the content they want to watch. (Note: I live in the UK so some of the content or channel ideas mentioned probably won’t be able to be integrated into Disney+ in the US). I won’t be going through all the channel ideas I have, otherwise there will be like 100+ channels mentioned.

How The Channels Would Work

Disney+ could utilise the live streaming feature that Disney added to Disney+ to stream the Oscar nominations. Some of the channels Disney+ could stream include Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Freeform, ABC and National Geographic. Obviously, FX would not be included in this “live channels” idea as many FX productions are TV-MA which is above the highest rating (TV-14) that Disney+ offers in the US.

Not all the channels need to be live, and most of them, if not all of them, could play Disney’s library content on loop. What Disney should do is have the channels function like a playlist where the episode/movie starts from the beginning and then offers you a twenty-second break where Disney offers a click to the series/movie page, a collection based on genre or IP and a skip to up next feature.

A crude mockup of the Channels tab replacing the Watchlist tab on Disney+. Other services have Watchlist as a row, which Disney+ is now testing.

Channels Disney+ Could Air

Classic Saturday Morning Cartoons

This channel could air shows from Disney’s One Saturday Morning cartoon block as well as the Fox Kids block and library. Some notable series Disney could air on this channel that are already streaming on Disney+ include Doug, Recess, and Pepper Ann. Disney could also continue to build on this by adding classic Fox Kids and One Saturday Morning series like Biker Mice From Mars, The Tick and House Of Mouse.

Imagine sitting on a cartoon like this. BIKER MICE FROM MARS (C) 1993 Fox Kids / Disney

Shorts Network

This channel would be one that would air classic and modern short films from Disney, Pixar, Blue Sky and other brands owned by Disney. Some of the shorts that could be aired on this channel would include classic “Mickey Mouse”, “Donald Duck”, “Silly Symphonies” and “Goofy” shorts among new releases from Pixar’s Sparkshorts and Disney’s Launchpad.

Disney+ has a large catalogue of shorts but this could be a way for Disney to test if people want more classic shorts like Disney’s “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit” and “The Skeleton Dance” as well as Blue Sky’s “Gone Nutty”, “Bunny” and “Umbrellacorn”. The more of these classic shorts are preserved the more there will be available to watch on Disney+ Channels.

The Muppets Network

As Disney+ has added more content to its library, one IP which deserves its own dedicated network is The Muppets. This network could air classic episodes of Muppet programs including the original Muppet Show as well as the 2015 reboot, alongside all the Muppet movies Disney+ currently streams and Disney Junior related series like the Muppet Babies reboot. They could even add the “Muppet Moments” shorts which aired on Disney Junior.

With Disney+ having new Muppet content as well including Muppets Now and The Muppets Haunted Mansion, this channel would be a great way to promote the brand to new viewers. Disney could use this as a way to see if fans would get excited if they were to add more Muppet content like the classic Muppet Babies, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets Tonight to this “Muppet Network” and the Disney+ catalogue.

Disney Animated Classics

This would be a channel dedicated to airing films from Disney’s animated film releases (Pixar, Blue Sky and 20th Century Animation films not included). Some notable films that Disney could air on this channel include are Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Aladdin and Frozen alongside the rest of Disney’s theatrically released Disney Animation films.

The only film missing that they could use this channel to promote is the film Make Mine Music, which for some unknown reason isn’t available on Disney+ yet despite the film being released on Blu-ray in 2021.

Ridiculously not streaming on Disney+ – MAKE MINE MUSIC (C) 1946 Disney

Pixar Movie Network

This one would be a fun one, but having a channel that would air Pixar’s entire back catalogue of movies back to back would be a win for Pixar fans who can’t decide what to watch. Some notable films that could air on this network include the Toy Story and Cars franchises alongside Inside Out, Monsters Inc and the upcoming Turning Red.

Disney+ Original Movie Channel

This channel seems like a logical idea. Since its launch in 2019, Disney+ has produced a large number of original films. With Disney+ making so many original films, why not set up a channel on Disney+ which airs them back to back? Some titles that would air on this channel include Clouds, Soul, Togo, and Stargirl. Disney has aired original movies on the Disney Channel for decades so having a channel on Disney+ that’s dedicated to showcasing their original movies just makes sense to me.

Disney Classic Movies

Similar to the Disney Animation channel this would be a channel that would air classic Disney movies. However, this channel would be for live-action and live-action animation hybrid movies. Some movies that could air on this channel include Mary Poppins, The Happiest Millionaire, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Parent Trap and The Mighty Ducks.

Marvel Toon Network

Marvel is a pillar of Disney+ and over the decades Marvel has produced a large number of animated series and movies, so creating a channel that airs these shows and movies is logical to me. Consider this, a channel that airs exclusively Marvel animated content. Some titles that could be aired on this channel include Ultimate Spiderman, Spiderman Unlimited, Silver Surfer’ and The Super Hero Squad Show.

Marvel could continue to build on this by getting the rights back to the Marvel anime owned by Sony as well as sorting out rights issues to bring shows like The Mighty Thor and the classic 1966 Spider-man cartoon to Disney+.

Other Channels Disney+ Could Make If They Increase Their Library

  • Nat Geo Sharks
  • Nat Geo Big Cats
  • DisneyNature
  • Touchstone Classics
  • Christmas Classics
  • Adult Animation
  • Lego Star Wars
  • Marvel Legacy Movie Channel
  • Disney Documentaries
  • Nat Geo World War Network
  • ESPN Documentaries
  • Romance Movies
  • Biopic Movies
  • Horror Central
  • Behind The Movies
  • Sci-fi Central
  • Westerns

Final Thoughts

I do feel like integrating this feature could do wonders for Disney+ as a service and could help cord-cutters ditch the cable boxes and satellite dishes for good. One channel idea I had, which I haven’t listed above, is “Disney On Broadway.” The reason I haven’t listed it is due to Disney not releasing all of their filmed Broadway productions onto Disney+, and at the time of writing, they only have three films that meet this requirement.

If Disney did this channel idea they would be bringing themselves up a level by offering channels for subscribers to find something to watch if they can’t find something on Disney+’s large library. Paramount+ and Peacock already have channels and Netflix was testing the feature internationally. This could be a feature Disney could steal and make their own by using their own catalogue of titles.

What do you think? Should Disney add linear channels?

Freelance Writer | Website | + posts

An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.

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