As The Walt Disney Company continues to work through challenges created by the unprecedented global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, they confirmed today another massive set of restructuring to streamline the business. Inspired by the “rapid success” of Disney+ the company is accelerating its Direct-to-Consumer strategy and focusing efforts there with a focus on content.
The creation of content will be managed in three distinct groups — Studios, General Entertainment, and Sports. Distribution and Commercialization activities will be centralized into a single, global Media and Entertainment Distribution organization. The new Media and Entertainment Distribution group are responsible for all monetization of content—both distribution and ad sales—and will oversee operations of the Company’s streaming services. It will also have sole P&L accountability for Disney’s media and entertainment businesses.
Followers of the industry will recognize the top brass under this initiative with Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman, Peter Rice, and James Pitaro leading the company’s three content creation groups: Studios, General Entertainment, and Sports.
- STUDIOS: Messrs. Horn and Bergman will serve as Chairmen, Studios Content, which will focus on creating branded theatrical and episodic content based on the Company’s powerhouse franchises for theatrical exhibition, Disney+ and the Company’s other streaming services. The group will include the content engines of The Walt Disney Studios, including Disney live action and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures.
- GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT: Mr. Rice will serve as Chairman, General Entertainment Content, which will focus on creating general entertainment episodic and original long-form content for the Company’s streaming platforms and its cable and broadcast networks. The group will include the content engines of 20th Television, ABC Signature and Touchstone Television; ABC News; Disney Channels; Freeform; FX; and National Geographic.
- SPORTS: Mr. Pitaro will serve as Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content, which will focus on ESPN’s live sports programming, as well as sports news and original and non-scripted sports-related content, for the cable channels, ESPN+, and ABC.
All five leaders will report directly to Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products will continue to operate under its existing structure, led by Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, who continues to report to Mr. Chapek. Rebecca Campbell will serve as Chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer. Bob Iger, in his role as Executive Chairman, will continue to direct the Company’s creative endeavors.
The entire Media and Entertainment Distribution group will be headed by Kareem Daniel, formerly President, Consumer Products, Games and Publishing. In this capacity, he will will be responsible for the P&L management and all distribution, operations, sales, advertising, data and technology functions worldwide for all of the Company’s content engines, and it will also manage operations of the Company’s streaming services and domestic television networks. The group will work in close collaboration with the content creation teams on programming and marketing.
With the reorganization, the Direct-to-Consumer and International business will no longer be managed on a combined basis. In Ms. Campbell’s role leading international operations, she will be responsible for coordinating and integrating activities across the various business units in each market to best represent the Company’s overall interests, and will report to Mr. Chapek. In her role leading direct-to-consumer operations for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, she will report to Mr. Daniel.
The new structure is effective immediately, and the Company expects to transition to financial reporting under this structure in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The Company will hold a virtual Investor Day on December 10, where it will present further details of its direct-to-consumer strategies.