Disney Star unfreezes new channel launches, sets 15 March 2023 as launch date

After being postponed for many years, Disney Star is finally ready to launch its much-awaited channels and close some others amid the ongoing controversy over NTO 3.0.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 48 seconds

The past month (February 2023) has seen a huge churn in the Indian TV industry, with the biggest event being a week-long removal of Star, Zee and Sony channels from many major cable TV platforms (also known as Multi-System Operators or MSOs) as a protest against increased channel prices under the New Tariff Order scheme, now referred to as NTO 3.0 instead of NTO 2.0. From 18 to 24 February, 3–4 crore cable TV viewers lost access to their favourite channels from these three broadcasters until the standoff was finally resolved after a week. (However, Reliance Industries’ Viacom18 was completely unaffected, as Reliance itself owns three major cable platforms — Hathway, Den and GTPL — in addition to its JioTV service.)

While the removal was a huge shakeup in and of itself, it also brings attention to another long-pending development: Disney Star’s launch of many upcoming channels and closure of some existing ones. Originally scheduled for 1 February 2023, it was delayed without any notice, likely as a result of the ongoing dispute between broadcasters and TV platforms over the outcome of the NTO 3.0 order. In addition, TV platforms had to not only sign contracts with broadcasters and implement the new tariffs but also update their packages and bouquets accordingly, which delayed the process.

This is not the first time this has happened, as the channels were originally supposed to launch at the end of 2021 but were indefinitely postponed, though some of them did launch throughout 2022 like Pravah Picture, Star Kiran and Vijay Takkar. The dispute between broadcasters and cable operators brought the matter to a flashpoint.

Now that the issue seems to be resolved, Disney Star has decided to proceed with the launch of its long-postponed new channels from Wednesday, 15 March, as well as shut down many of its existing underperforming channels. On Thursday (2 March) it published a notice on its website announcing the latest changes, though only the launches are mentioned and not the shutdowns. In addition, some DTH operators like Tata Play have announced their intention to launch the new channels and terminate some other channels from that date. However, the addition of two HD channels launched in 2022 — Pravah Picture HD (where Sun Direct is the only DTH platform to carry it) and Star Kiran HD (which is not available on any TV platform) — on DTH platforms is not known at this stage.

As a recap, these are the channels that are scheduled for launch: out of a total of 16 announced in late 2021 (not including Vijay Takkar), nine will be launching on 15 March 2023 and five (Super Hungama, Pravah Picture SD/HD and Star Kiran SD/HD) were launched in 2022, but Hungama HD and Jalsha Josh have been cancelled.

No.NameFormatLanguageGenreOriginal launch dateStatus
1Star Gold RomanceStandard definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
2Star Gold ThrillsStandard definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
3Star Gold 2 HDHigh definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
4Star Movies SelectStandard definitionEnglishMovies1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
5Super HungamaStandard definitionMultilingualKids1 December 2021Launched on 1 March 2022
6Disney Channel HDHigh definitionMultilingualKids1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
7Hungama HDHigh definitionMultilingualKids1 December 2021Launch cancelled
8Star Sports 1 Tamil HDHigh definitionTamilSports1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
9Star Sports 1 Telugu HDHigh definitionTeluguSports1 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
10Vijay TakkarStandard definitionTamilYouth/MusicN/ALaunched on 10 October 2022
11Vijay Super HDHigh definitionTamilMovies25 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
12Asianet Movies HDHigh definitionMalayalamMovies25 December 2021Launching on 15 March 2023
13Jalsha JoshStandard definitionBengaliMovies/Sports1 December 2021Launch cancelled
14Pravah PictureStandard definitionMarathiMovies25 December 2021Launched on 15 May 2022
15Pravah Picture HDHigh definitionMarathiMovies25 December 2021Launched on 15 May 2022
16Star KiranStandard definitionOdiaGEC24 January 2022Launched on 6 June 2022
17Star Kiran HDHigh definitionOdiaGEC24 January 2022Launched on 6 June 2022

Similarly, these are the channels that were scheduled to shut down in December 2021, and all of these shutdowns will finally be allowed to take place on 15 March 2023, with the exception of Bindass, which will continue unaffected. Note that Marvel HQ was replaced by Super Hungama in March 2022. Also, Vijay Music was replaced by Vijay Takkar, as mentioned above.

This is the umpteenth time the broadcaster has tried to shut down Star World SD/HD and Star World Premiere HD, its long-standing English entertainment channels (with Disney International HD being the only one left in the genre), in addition to retiring the UTV brand (in favour of new Star Gold-branded channels) and discontinuing the struggling Marathi and Bengali Star Sports channels along with BabyTV HD.

No.NameFormatLanguageGenreOriginal shutdown dateStatus
1Star WorldStandard definitionEnglishGEC1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
2Star World HDHigh definitionEnglishGEC1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
3Star World Premiere HDHigh definitionEnglishGEC1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
4UTV MoviesStandard definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
5UTV ActionStandard definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
6UTV HDHigh definitionHindiMovies1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
7BindassStandard definitionHindiMusic1 December 2021Shutdown cancelled
8Marvel HQStandard definitionMultilingualKids1 December 2021Replaced by Super Hungama in 2022
9BabyTV HDHigh definitionEnglishKids1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
10Star Sports 1 MarathiStandard definitionMarathiSports1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
11Star Sports 1 BanglaStandard definitionBengaliSports1 December 2021Shutting down on 15 March 2023
12Vijay MusicStandard definitionTamilMusicN/AReplaced by Vijay Takkar in 2022

In their stead, a number of new HD channels will go on air, including HD versions of Star Sports 1 Tamil and Telugu, which had been revealed by Sanjog Gupta (Disney Star’s Head of Sports) as a new offering ahead of the 2023 IPL season. This will help Star Sports go head-to-head with Reliance/Viacom18 and its JioCinema platform, which will stream the IPL for free this season and hence massively disrupt how people consume the biggest sporting event in the country, and one of the most money-rich tournaments in the world.

Also, the launch of two new regional movie channels — Vijay Super HD (Tamil) and Asianet Movies HD (Malayalam) — will serve as a big boost to the network’s regional portfolio, since its other regional movie channels Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Star Maa Movies (Telugu) and Pravah Picture (Marathi) are all available in HD, though the last is only on Sun Direct among DTH platforms. This leaves only Star Suvarna Plus (Kannada) as not having an HD feed planned. In the kids’ genre, Disney Channel HD will be the network’s first Indian kids’ channel — since the outgoing BabyTV HD is not an Indian channel — though unfortunately Hungama HD seems to be scrapped, as well as Jalsha Josh, which would have been a Bengali movies/sports channel.

Nevertheless, one can only hope that Disney Star will indeed follow through on its proposed launch plans after backtracking multiple times in the past. Given that a notice on the company’s website may not always be sufficient confirmation of the launches — as seen before — the real hope comes from the fact that Tata Play has revealed its intended channel numbers for the new channels. When the new channels are added by more DTH platforms, information on their availability will be published accordingly, though availability of Pravah Picture HD and Star Kiran HD could remain in the dark for a longer time period.

For more details on how these channel launches and closures by Disney Star will impact TV viewing across genres and languages, you can refer to our articles published in October 2021 (on regional channels, English/Hindi GECs/movie channels and kids’ channels) and December 2022. Though much has changed in the meantime — including the launch of some channels, like Vijay Takkar, and the cancellation of the launches of Hungama HD and Jalsha Josh — they are still useful to show their position in Disney Star’s portfolio and the overall Indian TV landscape.

Table of Disney Star’s overall network after these changes:

GECMoviesSportsMusic/YouthKidsLifestyle and
HindiStar Plus (HD),
Star Bharat (HD),
Star Utsav
Star Gold (HD),
Star Gold 2 (HD),
Star Gold Select (HD),
Star Gold Romance,
Star Gold Thrills,
Star Utsav Movies
Star Sports 1 Hindi (HD),
Star Sports First
Super Hungama
EnglishDisney International HDStar Movies (HD),
Star Movies Select (HD)
Star Sports 1 (HD),
Star Sports 2 (HD),
Star Sports 3,
Star Sports Select 1 (HD),
Star Sports Select 2 (HD)
Disney Channel (HD),
Disney Junior
National Geographic (HD),
Nat Geo Wild (HD),
Fox Life (HD)
TamilStar Vijay (HD)Vijay Super (HD)Star Sports 1 Tamil (HD)Vijay Takkar7
TeluguStar Maa (HD)Star Maa Movies (HD),
Star Maa Gold
Star Sports 1 Telugu (HD)Star Maa Music8
KannadaStar Suvarna (HD)Star Suvarna PlusStar Sports 1 Kannada4
MalayalamAsianet (HD),
Asianet Plus
Asianet Movies (HD)5
BengaliStar Jalsha (HD)Jalsha Movies (HD)4
MarathiStar Pravah (HD)Pravah Picture (HD)4
OdiaStar Kiran (HD)2

Thanks: Sarfaraz, DreamDTH Community Forums

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Avatar of Soham Bhadra
Soham Bhadra

Television Analyst

Soham is a Computer Science graduate from NTU, Singapore, with an active interest in the Indian TV and entertainment industry. He publishes articles and shares his insights primarily on the Indian TV industry and DTH operators. He has a passion for words and reflects that through his articles.

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Finally Star Sports 1 Tamil HD , And. Vijay Super HD 👏👏

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What about "Star Gold Family" ??? Have they cancelled it ???

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