Disney Restructures Business With Streaming At Fore, Splits TV production And Distribution


By Jonathan Easton

Amid ongoing financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Disney has announced a restructure of its media and entertainment business with a focus on streaming.

Disney’s DTC segment was already one of the more important aspects of its business, but has increasingly come to the fore with cinemas around the world continuing to be shut and theme parks remaining closed or running at a limited capacity.

Now, with over 100 million people subscribed to services like Disney+ and Hulu globally, the company has said that it will reorganise to separate the development and production of programming from distribution. Disney’s content groups for studios, general entertainment and sports will be led by the same execs – Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman; Peter Rice; and James Pitaro respectively.

This new model, it said, would allow it to be more responsive to consumer demands.

This will all feed into a single media and entertainment distribution group to be headed by Kareen Daniel, who was previously president of consumer products, games and publishing and has served at Disney for 14 year in a number of roles including the president of Walt Disney Imagineering Operations.

All five of Horn, Bergman, Rice, Pitaro and Daniel will report into CEO Bob Chapek.

Disney’s parks, experiences and products segment will remain unchanged under Josh D’Amaro. Rebecca Campbell will continue to serve as chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, with a responsibility for coordinating and integrating activities in different markets.

Meanwhile former CEO Bob Iger will also continue as executive chairman, overseeing the company’s creative decision making.

CEO Chapek said: “Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our Company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value.

“Managing content creation distinct from distribution will allow us to be more effective and nimble in making the content consumers want most, delivered in the way they prefer to consume it. Our creative teams will concentrate on what they do best – making world-class, franchise-based content – while our newly centralized global distribution team will focus on delivering and monetizing that content in the most optimal way across all platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and the coming Star international streaming service.”

The announcement was made days after activist investor Daniel Loeb urged Disney to forgo a dividend payment and double investment in streaming – a statement which has evidently been heard by Disney.

Daniel, the new distribution chief, said: “I’m honored to be able to lead this new organisation during such a pivotal and exciting time for our Company, and I’m grateful to Bob for giving me the opportunity.”

News of the restructure saw Disney’s shares jump up by 5 per cent, though the company said that it will only start reporting under this structure in Q1 2021.

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