Disney XD (formerly Fox Kids and Jetix) is a children's television channel, with programming aimed at children aged 6–14 years old which broadcast on cable and Sky UK. Fox Kids orientated from United States, and was owned by Fox Television Entertainment, before renaming itself to Jetix in 2005. The British version of Fox Kids was the first European variant before being expanded to other European countries during the late 1990s.
Fox Kids launched the British and Irish version of its channel on 19 October 1996, broadcasting between the hours of 06:00 and 19:00. Fox Kids time-shared originally with Sky 2 and later National Geographic Channel, before extending its hours to 10 pm. The channel consisted of live-action and animated comedy, drama and action-adventure programmes for children of all ages, Fox Kids also programmed up to seven hours of commercial-free educational series each week
In early 2001, the channel claimed one million children watched the channel every week. The channel also restructured its operations into two divisions, content and commercial. In July 2001, Disney acquired Fox Family Worldwide from News Corp and Haim Saban, which give Disney 76% ownership of Fox Kids Europe, which included the British operations. On 3 November 2003, the channel began broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week
In January 2004, Fox Kids international announced plans to rename its operations to Jetix, a unique name which implied action and adventure. On 3 April, the transition started with a Jetix-branded block operating every day from 3pm to 7pm, In September 2004, the block become part of the morning line-up, between the hours of 7 am and 9 am.
On 9 September, A monthly Jetix Magazine was launched as part of the rebrand, produced under licence by Future Publishing. The magazine, aimed at boys ages six to eleven, contained covered a wide aspect of content including news, interviews, music and sports. Ronnie Cook, managing director at JCP, added: "We're excited to be able to offer this new UK title for kids. The Jetix Magazine will also provide us with a crucial marketing tool for upcoming channel activity."
On 1 January 2005, the channel was fully relaunched as Jetix. Cinema advertising campaign produced in house was instigated to help promote the rebrand, Jetix UK marketing director Allan Stenhouse says: "Cinema is a fast-paced, action-packed environment where both the quality of visual and audio communication enables us to excite children about Jetix." Shortly after the rebranding, a new early-evening block was introduced named "Jetix Max". The Jetix Max slot included such shows as W.I.T.C.H., Totally Spies, Martin Mystery, Funky Cops, Power Rangers, PXG and Black Hole High. The Jetix Max slot was dropped in June 2006, although it remained on other Jetix channels around Europe.
In September 2007, the channel signed a deal with Sky and Virgin to allow its content to be used on their video on demand services. Jetix UK and Nordic managing director Boel Ferguson said, "We are excited about securing these deals and continue to pursue distribution opportunities to make Jetix programming even more accessible to consumers". Further enhancement occurred in November 2007, when its online website started to include video clips of its programmes.
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In December 2008, Disney bought out the remaining 26% share in Jetix to acquire full ownership of the company. Within six months Disney relaunched the channel as Disney XD, in the U.S., followed by relaunch in the UK on 31 August 2009, replacing Jetix. On 12 August 2009, the Jetix on-screen logo was removed and replaced with the Disney XD logo counting down the days to the launch. Disney XD is aimed towards boys aged 6 to 14 with Disney Channel focusing more toward girls.
The channel has expanded to include live-action films and sports coverage developed in collaboration with ESPN The channel launched the original series Aaron Stone, animated series Phineas and Ferb and the live-action series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The channel continued to air shows that previously aired on Jetix, such as Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension, Jimmy Two-Shoes, Kid vs. Kat, American Dragon: Jake Long and Phil of the Future.
On 1 February 2016, Disney XD rebranded for the first time since its launch in 2009 to the current look used in the US, with a slight logo change, different look promos, and new idents.
Since 2017, the timeshift channel of Disney XD has been changed into pop-up temporary channels which last a month.
On 4 July 2017 to promote the new film Spider-Man: Homecoming, the channel was known as "Spider-Man Channel", airing non-stop Ultimate Spider-Man throughout the month. It was changed back to Disney XD +1 on 31 July 2017.
On 4 September 2017, the channel was changed again to "Mickey and Pals", which aired various programming from Disney Junior. It was changed back to Disney XD +1 on 30 September 2017.
On 1 April 2018, The Channel was changed to Marvel’s Avengers Channel, airing non-stop Avengers Assemble throughout the month as well as exclusive content to promote the easter holidays and the release of Avengers: Infinity War. It will change back to Disney XD +1 on 29 April 2018.
Disney XD HD, a high-definition simulcast of Disney XD, launched on Sky channel 633 on 18 October 2010 in the UK. The channel broadcasts HD versions of Disney XD's popular live action shows and animated programmes, such as Phineas and Ferb, I'm in the Band, Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil and Zeke and Luther. This marks Sky's fiftieth HD channel, meeting Sky's HD channel target of 50 HD channels by Christmas 2010.
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Disney XD launched with a large launch campaign. Four launch initiatives were designed to introduce Disney XD to children in the UK:
In 2009, Beach Soccer was a joint initiative between England Beach Soccer and Disney XD, holding Beach Soccer Roadshows across central and Southern England. An artificial beach was built in each of the five locations: Portsmouth, Nottingham, Minehead, Hyde, (Greater Manchester) culminating in a Beach Soccer final on Oxford Street, London on Saturday 29 August 2009. In 2012, the event came to Sunderland.
Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity helped to launch Disney XD by accepting a challenge to teach 100 young street dancers a one-off routine and then perform it in front of the crowds in Covent Garden. Diversity were given just a few days to teach the 100 young dancers the routine and how to perform it all together. Disney XD set the challenge to Diversity to help inspire kids to learn new activities. The challenge was documented in the programme Disney XD Challenge: Diversity, which aired on Disney XD in September 2009.
British skateboarding legend, Pete King, skated his way across the UK to help get kids out and skateboarding as part of the launch of Disney XD.
From Land's End to John O'Groats, Pete King kick-flipped and tail-slid through the UK executing daredevil tricks while conducting master classes for kids looking to become the next British skateboarding stars. Pete's challenge was part of a series of challenges which Disney XD set for UK personalities to help inspire kids to try new activities. Viewers were able to watch the highlights of Pete's journey on Disney XD in October 2009.
Friday 28 August saw history being made as 250 children came together to form a giant 'human joystick' to set the new world record for the biggest ever game of virtual keepy-uppy, with former England and Liverpool F.C. football star and gaming fan, Jamie Redknapp, led the bid to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.