Show of hands: Who thinks it’s a coincidence that DirecTV made this addition to its children’s offerings the same week that its 20M customers lost Viacom’s 17 channels including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, and Nicktoons? Of course the satellite company doesn’t actually make that connection in today’s announcement: That would have been insulting to Disney. And who knows? Maybe DirecTV would have made the addition anyway. Still, its hard to avoid seeing this in the context of the spat with Viacom. The release notes that Disney Junior, which targets kids age 2-7, is “one of the most sought after channels by DirecTV customers and will be permanently added to their programming options as a basic channel.” This is the first year that Disney Junior is operating as a 24/7 channel; it launched last year as Disney Channel’s daytime programming block. “When it comes to children and families, nobody has the tremendous programming to compare with Disney,” DirecTV EVP Derek Chang says. “DirecTV is happy to place our trust in Disney as a partner in building this exciting new family service.” Beginning tomorrow, Disney Junior will appear on channel 289, right next to Disney Channel.
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