Disney Channel, The

Disney Channel, The Cable television network; began broadcasting on April 18, 1983, with 18 hours of programming a day. On December 7, 1986, The Disney Channel went to a full 24 hours. The Channel became one of the fastest-growing pay cable services, reaching over 35 million subscribers after a little over a decade on the air. It was originated under the leadership of Jim Jimirro and continued by John Cooke and Anne Sweeney. The Channel features a mixture of Disney films, original programming, and family entertainment purchased from other producers. Many Disney films have had their world television premieres on the Channel. Until 1997, the Channel published The Disney Channel Magazine, featuring articles, columns, and program notes. In 1993, the Channel began a transition from premium to basic cable service, eventually expanding its reach to over 80 million homes. Gradually starting in the mid-1990s, the Channel instigated a new programming strategy that emphasizes 9- to 14-year-olds, the “tween” years, through original series and movies. Beginning in March 1995 in Taiwan, a number of international channels were launched in such countries as Australia, Italy, Brazil, and the Philippines, totalling 24 of them by 2005. The Disney Channel officially dropped “The” from its name in 1997 to become Disney Channel. By 2009 it encompassed 94 channels available in 163 countries and 32 languages.