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Disney threat to Sky following Comcast takeover

Could Sky lose access to Disney content as a result of Comcast's takeover of the pay TV company?

Media analysts say that Sky could face the loss of programmes and movies from Disney and Fox following the failure of 21st Century Fox, and its new owner Disney, to gain control of the company.

Contracts are due to be renewed by 2020, but Disney is known to be in the advanced stages of planning its own direct-to-consumer streaming and on-demand service, which could side-step the need to do a deal with Sky.

The Guardian quotes Sarah Simon of research firm Berenberg as saying that "Disney now doesn’t have any incentive to renew its programming deals with Sky unless it’s on extremely good financial terms.”

Sky has traditionally enjoyed a strong relationship with Disney, encompassing a Disney-branded movie channel and a long term carriage agreement for Disney's children's channels. However, in 2016, Disney Channel left Sky's streaming service Now TV in an early move away from providing online content through Sky in favour of building its own portfolio.  Disney has also pulled content from streaming service Netflix to ensure it has full control over its content online.

However, it is also being reported that Sky has already secured longer-term movie deals with two other Hollywood studios ensuring that the company will continue to be able to provide blockbuster content in the coming years, regardless of any issues with Disney.

In a statement last month, Sky boss Jeremy Darroch revealed that the company would be buying in fewer niche movies going forward.