Disney Channel is a Canadian specialty channel owned by Corus Entertainment. It launched on September 1, 2015. It is a localized version of the U.S. network of the same name, broadcasting live-action and animated programming aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 14 years old.
The announcement of the network came alongside a licensing deal reached between Disney and Corus, in which it acquired Canadian rights to Disney Channel's programming library – these rights were previously held by DHX Media and its specialty cable service Family Channel. It will mark the first time that a Disney Channel-branded network has operated in Canada, as DHX operated Canadian versions of the Disney Junior and Disney XD brands, but not Disney Channel.
Historically, dating back to that network's launch in September 1988, rights to Disney Channel's programming library were held by Family Channel — which is currently owned by the conglomerate DHX Media, and was previously owned by Astral Media prior to its 2013 acquisition by Bell Media. Through Family Channel, DHX also operated licensed Canadian versions of Disney Channel's spin-off networks Disney XD and Disney Junior (the latter of which operated as separately licensed channels broadcasting in English and French).
On April 16, 2015, Corus Entertainment announced that it had reached a "landmark" agreement with the Disney-ABC Television Group to acquire long-term, Canadian multi-platform rights to Disney Channel's programming library; the cost and duration of the licensing deal were not disclosed. Alongside the licensing deal, Corus announced that it would officially launch a Canadian version of Disney Channel on September 1, 2015; the service will consist of a linear television channel, along with TV Everywhere and video-on-demand services for digital platforms. This will mark the first time that a Disney Channel-branded network has operated in Canada, and Corus's second Disney-licensed service behind ABC Spark – a localized version of ABC Family (by effect of already operating domestic versions of Disney Channel's two largest children's television competitors, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, Corus will also be the sole Canadian operator of localized versions of the major American-based children's television networks).
Corus stated that Disney's other children's television brands would be transitioned to Corus-operated services in the future; DHX Television concurrently announced that it would re-brand its Canadian Disney Junior and XD networks in November 2015, presumably in anticipation for this transition. The networks, which will be re-branded as Family Jr. and Chrgd, will maintain some Disney content until the formal end of its program supply agreement in January 2016.
Television providers Videotron and Vmedia have both stated that Disney Channel, as well as La chaîne Disney—a French-language version of Disney Channel launching alongside the English version, would replace Teletoon Retro and its French-language counterpart on their respective lineups on September 1. Corus had previously announced that Teletoon Retro would shut down on September 1, 2015. It was also stated on Vmedia that Corus's Disney XD and Disney Junior would be launched on December 1, 2015.