DHX Media and Disney Part Ways

Family Channel owner DHX Media announced today the Disney branding on its specialty channels will be phased out this year.

The company said in a press release Wednesday evening that its kids channels will be re-named and overhauled and focused on its popular Family brand. The Disney Junior preschool channels targeting kids aged 2-6 in English and French will be rebranded as Family Junior and Famille Junior, respectively, and the Disney XD channel targeting kids 6-12 will be rebranded as Family XTRM. The new brands will debut by November 30, 2015, reads the release.

“This is a new world that has seen a dramatic increase in the value of kids’ content globally,” said Dana Landry, CEO of DHX Media, in the release. “As one of the leading creators and distributors of children’s entertainment content, we are excited to take advantage of this trend to combine our content strengths with our Canadian-industry leading Family brand, across all our channels. The tastes and viewing habits of young viewers have evolved, and we look forward to leveraging our world-leading library and working with top producers to create new programing that will resonate with the new generation.”

DHX Television will commence with the new and original lineup beginning in January 2016, as its content contract with Disney runs out at the end of the calendar year. Until that time, the channels will continue to broadcast Disney content, including such top-performing series as Liv and Maddie, Good Luck Charlie, Mighty Med and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

With the Disney deal not being renewed, the previously released DHX Television  acquisition-related annualized synergy target range is increased by 100% to $10 – $14 million and management looks forward to updating its financial outlook with the release of DHX’s third-quarter financial results in mid-May (which means the savings from the Disney deal amounts to $5 million to $7 million.

“Formats for youth programming are rapidly evolving. Our original commissioned top-rated shows, such as The Next Step and Gaming Show are prime examples of our ability to deliver compelling content to our audiences and are proven ratings drivers for our channels,” said Joe Tedesco, SVP and general manager, DHX Television. “We are looking forward to expanding our original content slate, as well as expanding our acquisitions with world-leading content producers so we can continue to be the go-to destination for youth and family entertainment.”

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