Moving aggressively to expand its hold on children’s entertainment, the Walt Disney Company will close its SoapNet cable channel and replace it with a service aimed at preschoolers.
In 2012, Disney Junior will take the place of SoapNet, a 10-year-old channel devoted to soap opera reruns that is available in about 75 million homes, according to Anne Sweeney, co-chairwoman of Disney Media Networks.
The new Disney Junior brand will also provide affiliate partners with a robust Video-On-Demand offering, a High-definition network and a Spanish language SAP feed.
Disney Junior's animated and live action programming will blend Disney's unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills.
Disney’s current preschool operation — a block of programming on Disney Channel and about two dozen Playhouse Disney international channels — will be re-branded Disney Junior starting next year.