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Disney+ Reportedly Set To Reinvent Old-School TV Channels

The bubble had to burst at some time. According to reports, Disney+ has figured out that the current streaming model is both unsustainable and difficult to use, so it’s come up with a revolutionary solution: TV channels.

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As originally reported by The Information, Disney+ reputedly has plans to integrate several continuous TV channels into its streaming service, with different Disney-owned shows and movies playing at specific times of the day, all day long. Some channels will likely be dedicated to certain types of content, including Marvel and Star Wars, while others will probably act more like regular network television, including a bit of everything from Disney, ABC, Hulu, Fox, and so on. The catch, however, is that you’ll probably still have to be a Disney+ subscriber to access these channels (and you’ll likely be faced with an ad or two once you decide to click on one of these channels to see what all the fuss is about).

In all likelihood, this is part of a push by Disney+ and other streaming services to get audiences to stay on the platform for longer than that one new weekly episode you’ve been waiting for. Watching 20+ minutes of the latest X-Men ’97 episode isn’t enough—Disney wants you to stick around. After the company lost over a million subscribers earlier this year, and with the looming crackdown on password sharing, Disney+ is pulling out all the stops to keep its subscribers interested.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Tubi, the Fox-owned Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) app, had overtaken Max, Peacock, Apple TV+, and Paramount+ in viewership and that it was close to catching up with Disney+, as well. Clearly, people like having the TV on in the background, but they don’t want to have the same show on at all times or be forced to pick something themselves.

Now, one might think that with everything you could ever hope to watch available at the touch of a button, channel surfing has become a hobby of the past. But here’s the thing—sometimes, you really want to watch something but just don’t know what. So why not let the networks, or in this case, the streaming service, choose for you? One of the joys of channel surfing used to be that you’d randomly come across your favorite movie or TV episode at just the right time, and you’d get sucked in, not coming up for air until it was finally over. That small comfort has been lost in the age of streaming, but FAST apps and streaming channels, such as the ones reportedly being proposed by Disney+, can bring some of that magic back.

Platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Max, and Amazon Prime Video have so much content to offer and such a difficult way of navigating through all of it that some of these titles—many of which could turn out to be firm favorites—easily fall by the wayside. Though introducing channels like this is genuinely quite a funny turn of events, given what streaming has done to network TV, it could also give us back something actually valuable.

(featured image: Disney+)


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El Kuiper
El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.